Fernando Alonso describes his relationship with ‘lucky’ F1 rival Lewis Hamilton

Oliver Harden
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso celebrate on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, 2023.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso celebrate on the podium at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, 2023.

Fernando Alonso has opened up about the nature of his relationship with old rival Lewis Hamilton, claiming the Mercedes driver has been “lucky” to spend so much of his Formula 1 career in a dominant car.

Hamilton made his F1 debut alongside Alonso, the reigning two-time World Champion, at McLaren in 2007, with the careers of both drivers heading in different directions in the years since.

Hamilton stands as the most statistically successful in grand prix history, having equalled Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record of seven World Championships in 2020 and becoming the first man to claim more than 100 F1 wins the following season.

Alonso, meanwhile, remains stuck on two titles with this month marking a full decade since his last victory for Ferrari at his home race in Barcelona.

With Alonso moving to the rejuvenated Aston Martin outfit this season and Hamilton’s Mercedes team struggling to recapture their former glories, the former team-mates have been reunited on track in the early weeks of 2023 and shared the podium at last month’s Australian Grand Prix.

Despite his admiration for Hamilton and his achievements, Alonso says his rival has been fortunate to have had access to a dominant car for so long with the British driver winning six titles in seven seasons since the start of F1’s hybrid era in 2014.

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He told Spanish publication Marca: “I have a lot of respect for him.

“After all, we have had very little overlap in our careers in the same place.

“Maybe this year we find ourselves racing together and with similar cars, in this part of the year. In Australia we were within two seconds of each other the whole race and it was a very close fight.

“I still think he’s one of the best ever, but at the same time he’s been lucky or lucky enough to be in a dominant car for many years and when that happens, Schumacher won seven titles, Lewis won seven, [Max] Verstappen is on his way to his third, I won two.

“To be Champion you need the best car.”

Asked whether the course of history would have been altered if Hamilton had not found himself in such a dominant car, Alonso stressed the importance of competitive machinery to a driver’s prospects – claiming Valtteri Bottas could have been a multiple World Champion had Hamilton hit trouble at any point during Mercedes’ dominant spell.

“It would have been a different story for us and for all the drivers,” he said.

“If he had any problems at Mercedes in those years, Bottas could have five titles.

“That’s how it works.”