Zanardi: Lewis ‘a step above’ Alonso

Date published: December 30 2014

Former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi rates Lewis Hamilton as the best driver on the current grid, saying he is a “step above” Fernando Alonso.

Hamilton won 11 of the 19 races this year to win the Drivers’ Championship ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, joining Alonso and several other legends on two World titles.

The fight between the two Mercedes drivers went down to the wire though with Hamilton only securing the Championship in the season finale, but Zanardi believes he was a deserving champion.

Speaking to F1 journalist Leo Turrini, he said: “Honestly, I believe that the outcome of the last Formula 1 World Championship was right. I am not talking about the machinery, I am talking about the driver. In my opinion, Hamilton is the best of those on the grid at the moment. Perhaps the only one who comes close to him is Alonso. But I think Lewis is a step above.”

Another major talking point this campaign was the struggles of four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull. Vettel, though, will have a new team next year as he has moved onto Ferrari where he will partner Kimi Raikkonen.

Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a CART accident in 2001, but went on to win Paralympic gold at the 2012 London Games, told Turrini’s blog.quotidiano.net that the Vettel and Raikkonen partnership will be interesting.

“I think Vettel is a great driver, maybe not at the level of Hamilton or Alonso, however, we are talking about a very very competitive driver, who will surely get to Maranello with the right spirit.”

He added: “Apart from the car, which of course remains important, it will be interesting to see how Vettel and Raikkonen will react to the latest experiences in 2015. Let me explain. In 2014, Seb was put under by [Daniel] Ricciardo. Similarly Kimi declined significantly compared to [former Ferrari team-mate] Fernando. How will they adapt to a machine that we are told will not be the fastest? It will be very interesting to see their performance.”