Lewis Hamilton v Fernando Alonso: What the two legendary drivers think of each other

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, shake hands. Australia, April 2023.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, shake hands on the podium. Australia, April 2023.

The two veterans of the Formula 1 grid Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have been gushing with praise about one another.

The relationship between the two has not always been as friendly, notably during Hamilton’s rookie season in F1 at McLaren where he shared a garage with Alonso.

As the two battled for the World Championship, with eventually both of them missing out to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, the relationship soured almost beyond repair and the tension was only relieved with Alonso’s move back to former outfit Reanult.

But plenty of time has passed since then as has plenty of water under the bridge and there is now a respect between the two for what both of them have achieved.

And while tempers may continue to fray on occasion – see Alonso’s radio message following the pair’s collision at Spa last year – outside the heat of the cockpit, the two are able to praise each other.

Of his former teammate, Alonso said that Hamilton was “a legend” of the sport and if anyone wants to beat him “you need something special.”

“It is a very good thing,” Alonso told the media ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. “He’s a legend of our sport.

“We saw in Australia. I think we spent the whole race within two seconds of distance, playing with the distance a little bit. He has no weak point, he makes no mistakes.

“He’s a very tough competitor. To beat him, you need something special. So this is the type of guy that you want to challenge.”

Hamilton was just as complimentary in his press conference, saying it is clear from the way the Aston Martin man drives that his “talent hasn’t left him.”

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“From afar, the talent hasn’t left him,” the Mercedes man said. “I don’t believe it does leave us. It’s also his work ethic and talent.

“He’s an amazing driver. We don’t put less work in now, than when we were younger.

“There is more information out there to stay fit and healthy – you see it in the greats, like LeBron [James] and Tom Brady.

“There is more focus than ever from an athlete’s perspective on how to get everything out of mind and body.

“I’m still as hungry as ever – clearly, Fernando is too.”

Alonso leads Hamilton by seven points heading into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and Saturday’s sprint.