United States Grand Prix – Fernando Alonso has said he rates Lewis Hamilton as one of his top five World Champions, after being asked at the US GP press conference.
With Alonso entering his last four Formula 1 races before leaving the sport, at least temporarily, he was asked for his opinion on who he rates as the best five World Champions the sport has seen. He didn’t have to think too hard, including his former rival and the man he eventually beat to the 2005 & 2006 titles Michael Schumacher, as well as his 2007 McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton – the pair finished level on points at the end of that year.
“Probably Michael [Schumacher], [Juan Manuel] Fangio, [Ayrton] Senna, [Alain] Prost, & Lewis [Hamilton], probably this will be the top five, probably, that come to my mind but it’s difficult to compare different times and different ways to win those championships.”
“Lewis winning five now and being the same as Fangio, as I said before, it’s a great achievement and if one had to do that in our generation, I’m happy that it’s Lewis because he showed the talent and he showed the commitment, as I said before, when the car was dominating he delivers and won the championship. When the car was not good enough to win the championship, he still put in some performances to show his talent and that’s difficult to see in our days.”
Asked about their time together at McLaren and whether he, as the then reigning World Champion, could have foreseen what Lewis could achieve, Alonso said: “Well, probably at that time it was difficult to image what the future could bring for Lewis, and for any of the guys on the grid. But yeah, definitely, he had showed the talent from day one, and fighting for the Championship in his rookie year, winning in 2008. Probably at that time, we all agree that five or seven World Championships will be possible.”
“Then, obviously, was a little bit down due to the performance of the car for a couple of years. And then, yeah, switching to Mercedes at that time, we all were thinking that maybe was not positive – because at that time Mercedes was struggling in 2013, and things like that. So, it’s up and down, the feelings. I’m happy for him because he showed the talent from day one. He was able to win races when the car was there to win it but he was able to win races in some of the seasons when the car was not in the top of the form, like 2009 and things like that, he’s still winning a couple of grand prix a year. It’s impressive – and now it’s time to enjoy for him, so I’m happy.”