‘Alonso not inferior to Hamilton, Vettel’

Date published: May 8 2018

Ex-Formula 1 Jean-Eric Vergne has had his say on a range of topics in Formula 1, including Fernando Alonso and a “concerning” situation at McLaren.

The current Formula E World Championship leader is often outspoken on the series he used to race in, recently questioning Toro Rosso’s decision to bring Brendon Hartley back into the fold.

Vergne mentioned Hartley once again in his latest interview, saying his situation is why he would not come back to Formula 1 himself if the opportunity arose.

“I don’t regret leaving Formula 1,” Vergne said. “Even if I was invited to return, as happened with Brendon Hartley, I doubt that I would accept it.

“What does Hartley have? A contract for one, two years maximum. What will he do then?

“I’m much more attracted by the opportunity of competing in two championships at the same time.”

Vergne is also confident that Alonso would win races if he was at a top team like Mercedes or Ferrari, and that McLaren’s current predicament even after changing engine suppliers should be a worry.

“When you have the same engine as a team that wins races, and you’re also behind Toro Rosso with Honda, this should be a concern,” he said.

“I think McLaren has huge pressure. Fernando [Alonso] told me that the team is preparing a lot of new parts for Barcelona, which would also be good for Stoffel Vandoorne.

“I think if he was at Mercedes or Ferrari, he would win races. He is in no way inferior to Vettel or Hamilton.”

Vergne concluded by discussing the abilities of Max Verstappen and has told the Dutchman to calm down in order to let his true potential show.

“Max is a unique driver who is very talented and takes a lot of risks,” he added.

“Previously he was lucky, because he managed to pull off moves that are one in a hundred. Only now it’s not working.

“If he calms down a little and focuses on the main thing – finishing the races – he will be where he should be, which is in the leaders’ group.

“But now he is making too many mistakes that can be avoided.”