Lewis Hamilton has for some time made no secret of the fact that he regards Fernando Alonso as his biggest rival in Formula 1 and the one he respects the most, thus the Briton laments the fact that the Spaniard is currently enduring such a tough time in his career.
Writing in his column for the BBC, Hamilton said, “For Fernando’s sake, I hope he is back battling at the front where he belongs as soon as possible. I’ve said many times that I regard him as my fastest and most talented rival – I think he is one of the best drivers F1 has ever seen.”
Ironically Alonso is back at McLaren, the team which groomed Hamilton from karting to Formula 1. Also the team where Hamilton and Alonso went toe-to-toe for the title in 2007 – they both lost out and the split was acrimonious as Alonso departed, while Hamilton stayed on and in 2008 claimed his first F1 world title.
But that now is water under the bridge and Hamilton right now feels Alonso’s pain of toiling hard at the back of the field as the new McLaren Honda era gets off to a tedious and problem packed start.
Hamilton explained, “Fernando chose to leave Ferrari at the end of last season to go to McLaren, who are now at the back after a difficult start to their new engine partnership with Honda.”
“As an F1 driver, these choices are very tough. When you decide where to drive, you never really know how it is going to work out. I was relating Fernando’s situation to mine, when I decided to leave McLaren at the end of 2012 and come to Mercedes,” reflected Hamilton.
But pointed out, “That worked out well for me. Had I not done that, I would have had a terrible 2013 and I would not have won the title last year.”
“Fernando stuck with Ferrari for five years without getting a car in which he could win the title,” mused Hamilton. “I don’t know what happened between them, but he had obviously had enough and decided to go somewhere else. It’s unfortunate for him that the following year the Ferrari car is amazing.”
“If he was to finish his career without adding to his two world championships, it would be a tragedy, because it would certainly not be due to his driving,” declared Hamilton who leads the 2015 F1 drivers’ championship and is now firm favourite to win his third title at the pinnacle of the sport.