How Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are ‘breaking barriers’ in F1

Jamie Woodhouse
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.

There is no sign of age catching up with Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff saying they are breaking down previously perceived “barriers”.

The year is 2023, but still a now 41-year-old Alonso is proving that he remains among the very best drivers to be found anywhere on the Formula 1 grid.

Red Bull may be this season’s runaway leaders, but Alonso is spearheading Aston Martin’s charge to finish ‘best of the rest’, having scored four podium finishes across the opening five rounds.

Alonso is by this stage the most experienced Formula 1 driver of all time, though Wolff’s legendary Mercedes driver, seven-time World Champion Hamilton, is closing in fast, not only in terms of grand prix starts, but also in the age department.

Hamilton is now 38, though he too is looking likely to remain in Formula 1 for a good while longer yet, Wolff having said just last year that Hamilton feels he has another five years in him.

And Wolff considers both drivers to be among a crop of elite athletes who are showing that age is merely a number.

“Fernando has shown that at 41 he is still very strong,” Wolff told DAZN, as per Motorsport.com. “I think they are breaking barriers.

“We can see sportsmen like Tom Brady or LeBron James, [Cristiano] Ronaldo, Lewis, who will go beyond 40, and I think if you continue to improve, if you know how to live your best life, have good nutrition, train and focus, you can stay longer.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Mercedes garage, Hamilton has a team-mate in George Russell who is still very much in the early stages of his Formula 1 career.

But, while Russell is only 25, his level of maturity would have you believe that he is instead up there with Alonso and Hamilton for years, Wolff claimed.

“George, since he arrived, is driving to be World Champion one day, he is a very hard worker, like Lewis,” said Wolff.

“But he is very mature for his age, you feel you are not talking to a 25-year-old, you are talking to a 40-year-old.”

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While there is no team which has an answer for Red Bull right now, leaving Alonso and Hamilton likely out of the title picture for F1 2023, both drivers continue to show that there is no reason to doubt that the incredible ability which took them to the mountain top several times before has gone.

And while the prospect of Alonso and Hamilton being in the title fight again is exciting enough, Russell’s impressive performances so far alongside Hamilton suggest he would be along for the ride too if Mercedes start producing title-worthy machinery again.

We were treated to that clash of eras in an epic 2021 season when Max Verstappen and Hamilton battled it out for World Championship glory, and if we could have that again in the coming years, with the likes of Alonso and Russell also thrown into the mix, then it would mean very exciting times are ahead.