Sainz: Hamilton is the Messi of F1 and Alonso the Ronaldo

Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton

Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz has likened Formula 1’s elder statesmen Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to football superstars Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo

Sainz told Marca, “Hamilton is the Lionel Messi of Formula 1 and Christian Ronaldo would be Alonso, it is known that Christiano wants to win it all and be the best, Fernando also wants to win, but not both so much.”

The pair of F1 drivers, like their footballing counterparts, are among highest earners in sport and have crossed swords dramatically during the 2007 season when, at the time, rookie Hamilton and Alonso, a double world champion, were teammates at McLaren.

Their rivalry that year is stuff of legend as nothing was spared as they tried to out-do one another throughout a tense and controversy packed season. Alonso departed the team after a single year while Hamilton remained at Woking and went on to win the F1 world title in 2008.

In 2016 Sainz spent a large chunk of track time battling with Alonso during grand prix races and acknowledges that his fellow Spaniard is a hard as nails competitor.

Asked who he rated as the toughest driver in the field, Sainz replied, “If I have to say one would be Alonso. Fernando is a fighter and has so much experience, he’s always more difficult than the others. He’s an old dog who knows everything.”

“Fernando is still the reference of all the drivers, I do not say it because I am Spanish or because he is friend. If you ask Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel will tell you the same thing,” added Sainz.