Fernando Alonso responded to Helmut Marko’s criticism of him and denied he lets himself get distracted by politics.
Marko made his remarks last week in reference to Sebastian Vettel, saying: “he shuts himself off from the rest of the world, so that he can still call on reserves that other drivers might not have: Fernando Alonso, for example, who is busy with politics and funny comments”.
Speaking at Ferrari’s pre-season media event Alonso said: “I don?óÔé¼Ôäót think I am good at politics, I just drive the car.
“Some recent remarks have surprised me, but I can?óÔé¼Ôäót see the sense in them. Some say they don?óÔé¼Ôäót read them, don?óÔé¼Ôäót hear them and don?óÔé¼Ôäót see them, before adding that they are not influenced by them: so clearly they do read them, maybe at night.”
Alonso also denied he had tried to diminish Vettel’s accomplishments: “I did not say that Vettel was not the strongest or that he did not deserve his three titles.
“There have been periods, like in 2011, when his performance level was fantastic and he was definitely the best.
“As of today, it?óÔé¼Ôäós impossible to say who will be our strongest rivals in 2013. Who will have the best car, who will have done the best job of preparation and had the best development, who will be the luckiest: there are so many factors which go to make the strongest combination of driver and team.”
However he singled out Hamilton as his most competitive rival and said he could win races in his first year with Mercedes: “Why do I say Hamilton is the strongest? Because it?óÔé¼Ôäós what I think, it?óÔé¼Ôäós my personal opinion and there is nothing political in that.
“Lewis has always won races ever since he has been in Formula 1, even in years like 2009, when he had started the season with a car that was two seconds off the quickest.
“When you look at what happens on track, you are well aware of what he is doing, that?óÔé¼Ôäós a fact. Last year, [Nico] Rosberg won in China, therefore I expect that this year, Lewis in a Mercedes can win more than one race.”
2013 F1 season
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Image ?é?® Ferrari/Ercole Colombo