Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Silverstone, 2012

Hamilton: Alonso’s “the guy I want to beat”

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Silverstone, 2012In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton singles out Fernando Alonso as the rival he is most interested in beating.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Forget Button, Alonso is the one I really have to beat (Daily Mail)

Lewis Hamilton: “The rivalry between me and Fernando excites me more [than with Button]. He?s the guy I want to beat. You also want to beat Seb [Vettel], as they are the ones with most titles. But Alonso’s the fastest driver I can see. He?s also one of the most experienced. Anyone would struggle to beat him.”

Webber bets he’ll be back on F1 track next year (The Sydney Morning Herald)

“‘No, I’m not,’ he said emphatically when asked if he were going into this season thinking or planning that it will be his last as a Formula One driver.”

Alonso: 2014 car can’t be distraction (Autosport)

“The only thing that has changed for next year is that if you get to the middle of the championship and you see you have a big, big difference on the negative side then you need to work on next year’s car.”

Michael Schumacher rules out TV pundit role (ESPN)

“Things move so fast in Formula One that I’m already actually a long way off the pace. Secondly, I would again be away from my family so I might as well be driving…”

Checo gets set to pen the next chapter in Mexican F1 racing history (McLaren)

“So far, there have only ever been six Mexican Formula 1 drivers: Checo himself; Esteban Gutierrez, who’ll make his Formula 1 debut next weekend in the Sauber that Checo would have been driving had McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh not snapped him up last autumn; the Rodriguez brothers, Pedro and Ricardo; Hector Rebaque; and Moises Solana.”

Fangio’s Fitness Regimen (F1 Speedwriter)

“Blessed with a naturally slow metabolism, as evidenced by his resting heart rate of 44 beats per minute (as opposed to the norm of 72bpm), Juan had the endurance capacity of a man half his age, and he worked hard to preserve it.”


Comment of the day

@Slr hopes Mercedes don’t make the same mistake BMW did five years ago:

I hope that if Mercedes actually turn out to have a real chance of winning the championship by the end of this season, they actually try to win it this year, rather than put all focus on 2014.

I remember when BMW wanted to focus on 2009, but Kubica still had a chance of winning the championship by the penultimate round in 2008, but the team still decided to focus on 2009. They had a poor end to 2008 and 2009 then turned out to be BMW?s worst season in their short time in Formula One.

Should Mercedes find themselves in a similar position this year, they really must take advantage of the opportunity because it may turn out to be their last, in spite of all of these people they have brought into the team.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Happy birthday to former F1 racer Derek Daly who is 60 today.

Daly peaked with two fourth places for Tyrrell in 1980 but is better remembered for incurring the wrath of team principal Ken Tyrrell by eliminating team mate Jean-Pierre Jarier and several others in this destructive crash at the start of that year’s Monaco Grand Prix:

264 comments on “Hamilton: Alonso’s “the guy I want to beat””

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  1. I predicted this on the forum the last month i think when Fernando said that Hamilton is his most dangerous rival , i said that in the next time before the start of the season Hamilton will praise Fernando.
    It seems that this mind game is really working well for both of them and they are trying to get under Vettel’s skin
    Last year Helmut Marko (the man who do the politics for Vettel) was very critical regarding Alonso while we all watched last year in terms of driving Alonso was the best he was even the “CLEANEST” driver on the grid no penalties, no reprimands, no issue with the stewards it was really an exceptional year
    Another thing before the last race Vettel said that whoever wins will be a worthy champion, we all know that but it was like he was trying to gain the same level of respect that maybe a double/triple world champion should have
    For me both Lewis & Fernando are trying to put Vettel under pressure even before the start of the season because they know that Seb doesn’t handle pressure

    1. Seb however handles a fast car perfectly well . SO if the red bull is fast , he wins . If not , he can’t . As simple as that . But Red Bull amazes me as to how they develop the car and bring in a freak last minute update that changes everything ( 2012 )

      1. Seb however handles a fast car perfectly well

        No one said otherwise that’s why they are trying to destabilize him

        1. Yep, But , if they are trying to do so , I doubt it will work . I am getting bored of one car dominating . I hope 2013 will be better than 2012 in terms of unpredictability . But , as someone said ” Red Bull are awfully quiet , and that makes me worried ” I think Red Bull has won the PR award for the pre season and maybe even the best sandbagging award .

      2. F1fanNL (@)
        12th March 2013, 0:58


        SO if the red bull is fast , he wins . If not , he can’t

        That applies to all drivers. Alonso didn’t win when his Ferrari was off the pace. Neither did Hamilton when the McLaren was lacking pace. And they both have been beaten when the cars did have the best pace. Hamilton lost in Australia to Vettel (and Button of course) and Alonso lost at Silverstone to Webber.

        They are all human beings and can make mistakes or have an off-day.

    2. For me both Lewis & Fernando are trying to put Vettel under pressure even before the start of the season because they know that Seb doesn’t handle pressure

      I think if he doesn’t handle pressure, then he would have lost at least one of the last 3 titles, as opposed to being stronger in the second half of the season in 2 of them.

      1. In 2010 Seb was an outsider it was Alonso after Silverstone (-47 pts) who did incredible comeback but Ferrari’s suicidal strategy throw the title away we all remember Turkey 2010, Spa 2010 Hungary 2010 and the many mistakes he made
        In 2012 in Monza, Abu Dhabi and Brazil Vette l made many mistakes he nearly crashed under the safety car and made a mess of the final race
        I don’t know why some people are trying always to ignore the fact that Vettel always makes mistakes when he is under pressure
        Oh i forget Canada 2011

        1. Because he doesn’t always crack under pressure. He won 4 out of the last 5 races in 2010, when everybody else was failing (including Alonso). He didn’t crack under pressure in 2011 in Spain, Monaco or Singapore. He didn’t lose it under pressure in Bahrein 2012 nor did he in Spa when he had to fight forward and he didn’t lose in when he had to fight back in Brasil or in 2009 when he had to fight for wins.

          I could comment exactly the same way about Alonso. He lost it in 2006 at Hungary and Germany when he was under pressure from Schumacher. Lost it in Hungary and Fuji in 2007 combined with some dull grand prix. He lost it in 2010 in Silverstone under pressure, as well as in Spa when he was trying to make up ground as well as in Abu Dhabi. He failed to deliver in Japan 2012 when he just needed to finish and suddenly wasn’t able to beat Massa in qualifying in Austin and Brasil when the battle for the title was at his highest. He wasn’t even as quick as Massa in those races as well as in Korea.

          It’s just so easy to pick out the moments when someone cracks, but look past the moments they don’t.

          1. F1fanNL (@)
            12th March 2013, 1:00


          2. @RamboII

            If my memory serves me well… Alonso started near the back of the grid in hungry 2006 and had one hell of a race before crashing out because of a loose wheelnut… That should count towards one of his best races…

            Also most of your examples dont make any sense ….like Spa 12… How on earth can you call that Alonso cracking under pressure..??

        2. I don’t know why some people are trying always to ignore the fact that Vettel always makes mistakes when he is under pressure

          Because you’re conveniently listing any mistakes from early or late in a season, and saying its because he can’t handle pressure, while conveniently claiming he wasn’t under pressure when he did deliver results necessary for the championship.

          But for now, I won’t say any more on the matter. RamboII put up a good post, IMO.

        3. In 2012 in Monza, Abu Dhabi and Brazil Vette l made many mistakes he nearly crashed under the safety car and made a mess of the final race

          Your examples of Vettel “making a mess of things” consist of (1) a race he was forced out of due to an alternator failure, (2) a race he was forced to start from the pit lane though no fault of his own, but still finished third, and (3) a race in which he won his third WDC after fighting his way up from the back of the field, in the rain, in a damaged car.

          If he keeps on “making a mess of things” like that, he’s going to win many more titles. Brazil and Abu Dhani were fantastic drives by Vettel, championship winning drives. If Alonso or Hamilton pulled off those performances they’d be considered among the greatest drives in F1 history.

          1. F1fanNL (@)
            12th March 2013, 1:03

            Well said. Some people here really need to take their Alonso/Hamilton goggles off.

          2. Alonso THE Great
            12th March 2013, 9:44

            @ Jon Sandor

            There is nothing great about vettel drives @ brazil or in Abu dhabi 2012

            In brazil despite his lunge into senna(Mistake) RBR had no severe damage and he finished the race duly to take some points. It was chaotic GP which helped vettel to finish in points. That too after Schumacher and Webber moved over for him.

            In ABu dhabi RBR Tried to fool the stewards like usually they do. The difference is RBR got Caught and Horner / Vettel acted as well as they can to avoid penalty. Yet penalty given. Come the race day Many drivers took themselves out of race with some nonsense overtaking. Vettel crahed into riccardio and shouted in team radio about the TR drivers not moving over quick enough. He did went off the track to overtake grosjean as well. Vettel did get past jenson which was good. Otherwise he made plenty of mistakes in Abu dhabi GP as well

          3. @Alonso The Great

            Sorry, that is laughable. In Brazil, at no point was Senna’s car ahead of Vettel, so how can you claim that Vettel made a lunge? If anything it was Senna who lunged up the inside of Vettel. Vettel might have had a couple of cars make it easy for him, but that wasn’t the case with every driver he had to get past. He went from last to 6th, with damage on his car, and despite a broken radio, which led to an extra pitstop.

            At Abu Dhabi, he was rusty, but he still tenaciously fought through the field despite the mistakes. He didn’t hit Ricciardo either. He hit a bollard avoiding him. He allowed Grsojean back through, and passed him again. Despite the rollercoaster ride, he got a podium.

            And “fool the stewards”? I assume you’d be saying the same about Hamilton and Mclaren in Spain then. Because they did THE SAME THING.

    3. @tifoso1989

      For me both Lewis & Fernando are trying to put Vettel under pressure even before the start of the season because they know that Seb doesn’t handle pressure

      I’m sorry, that’s laughable. Vettel is probably the best driver in the field at handling pressure and can always put in great laps in qualifying when under huge pressure. You could also argue he was under immense pressure after having been demoted to last in Brazil to fight back up the field, and he did so faultlessly, unlike Alonso who ran wide at the Senna Esses.

  2. Ok , Here is my take on the issue. Hamilton and Alonso respectively rate each other as the best driver on the grid . It is their own opinion and they are as entitled to express it as we are entitled to comment on it . Regarding the outburst to @vettel1 ‘s comment , there is nothing wrong in someone supporting a particular driver with vigor as long as they don’t insult other drivers. If you think Vettel deserves more respect , he has to earn it from the public ( I refer to his popularity on this site and not his ability as a driver ). I personally feel that Sebastian is a great F1 driver . However , as someone said previously , It would be interesting to watch him in a car that is even with the rest of the field for the whole season and then mount a challenge . But , F1 is the combination of driver, car , luck and other factors therefore it is unlikely to happen. For , those of you who measure webber as a yardstick to seb’s performance , I would say that certain updates are suited to seb’s style of driving and webber often has a lean patch towards the end of the season maybe because of fatigue .

    1. Well said @hamilfan.
      Lewis should have just moved to Redbull last season already, and all these doubts would have been cast away.
      Had that move happened, I honestly think Vettel would have been as close to Lewis as Button was (Lewis’ misfortunes included).

      1. on a lighter note , If only Alonso comes to Top Gear . Everything will be settled :P

    2. @hamilfan – thank you for a well-said and sensible comment. I don’t mind people thinking Alonso is better than Vettel, he may very well be, but I do very much mind when people then go to say Vettel isn’t. That rattles my cage: you are simply ignoring facts then. It’s a bit like saying Prost was crap because Senna beat him.

    3. It would be interesting to watch him in a car that is even with the rest of the field for the whole season and then mount a challenge

      It would be interesting to see a great many drivers – ranging from Senna to Prost to Schumacher to Fangio to Hamilton and so on and on – drive an average car (and that is what you are calling for in you description of a car ‘equal to the rest of the field’) – and still “mount a challenge”. But I don’t expect I’m ever going to see it happen.

      The problem with the various hurdles people give Vettel is to climb is not the hurdles per se, it’s that these people never expect any other drivers to climb them.

  3. It’s all fair and good, that these two drivers have so much admiration for each other. But in the end, if they lose out to Vettel or someone else in the championship, will they find comfort in seeing that they beat the other guy they have so much respect for. I don’t think it matters at all which drivers you are ahead of, if you didn’t win. Fans give the example of Stirling Moss while saying that the greatness of a driver is not defined by the number of championships he has won, and I don’t reject that. But I’m sure the man himself would have really liked to have one of those trophies back at his home because it would have been special for him. I guess every driver in the sport wants to win the championship above everything else. That’s why they are there.

    And talking about their so called bonding, will Alonso be delighted to have Hamilton as his partner again (at Ferrari) if it ever comes to that? If it were to happen, wasn’t there an opportunity already when Massa was performing poorly and Hamilton was getting impatient to leave McLaren last summer? Surely Ferrari could have nabbed him if they wanted to? But they would rather keep an underperforming Massa lest Alonso get uncomfortable, or dare I say even insecure. So please spare us the chitchat and do the fighting on the track.

  4. Old news. But that picture is awesome!

    1. Alonso THE Great
      12th March 2013, 9:46

      Yes mate the picture looks cool and fantastic

  5. I think Hamilton feels this way largely due to being Alonso’s team mate back in 2007. Despite all the negative aspects of the Alonso/McLaren relationship, Hamilton was able to measure himself against a truly awesome racing driver in equal machinery.
    As much as I like Jenson Button, you never really here any of the other top drivers mention him in terms of being a threat. Alonso and Vettel havn’t, Raikkonen also. This may suit Jenson being the underdog, but by Hamilton giving Alonso such high praise is nothing really anti-Jenson, its just the way Lewis feels. Being at a new team, the first person Hamilton must beat is his current team mate, Nico Rosberg. It never ceases to amaze me that no one really gives Rosberg any credit. No one expected him to last alongside Michael Schumacher, the most successful driver in F1 history, yet he beat him three years running at Mercedes. This guy will have no problem contemplating taking on Hamilton and beating him, especially when all the onus is on Lewis.

    1. I think Hamilton feels this way largely due to being Alonso’s team mate back in 2007. Despite all the negative aspects of the Alonso/McLaren relationship, Hamilton was able to measure himself against a truly awesome racing driver in equal machinery.

      Hamilton measured himself against Jenson Button for three years, and you’d have to say that the result was a draw.

      1. :D
        In your eyes only….

  6. How convenient for both Hamilton and Alonso that each consider the other to be their toughest opponent. Considering the ego of the pair of them (and most other F1-drivers as well) it`s hardly surprizing as they finished equal on points as team-mates back in 2007. This fact makes it impossible for either of them to downgrade the other (or place him as inferioer to anybody else in F1) without putting down himself at the same time. So unless both of them maintain this view they will indirectly admit that somebody else just might be bether than themselves.

    It`s convenient for the both of them to maintain this view in other ways too. Both of them are pretty obsessed with being viewed as “greats” in F1-history. And we all know that is something reserved for the few, and then usually the one deemed to be the best of their generation. Hamilton still thinks he can catch and beat Alonso in WDC`s and race wins over the course of his career, Alonso is thus less of a threat to Hamiltons claim to greatness than Vettel is at the moment. Likewise Alonso still has more WDC`s than Hamilton and consideres him to be less of a threat to his claim of greatness than Vettel, at least for now. If they repeat the mantra often enough maybe Vettel will go away, but at least for now his claim to greatness in F1-history is more valid than either Alonso or Hamilton.

    What strikes me about all of this is the different approach by the three gentlemen Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. Alonso and Hamilton has a need to constantly remind us about how great they are while Vettel seems content to keep his mouth shut and get the work done. There`s no doubt which approach that has worked best for the last four years, and before that we of course had tons of multiple champions that focused on the job without making too much noise. It worked for them too.

    As for Vettels talent I would like to ask the following question: Which other driver had an uncanny ability to build up a lead of 2-4 seconds on the first lap on cold tyres like Vettel does? The answer is Ayrton Senna. If you don`t remember Senna, perhaps you don`t remember that he too prefered to control a race from the front just like Vettel.
    It`s a shame so many people can`t appreciate what it takes to be a triple champion or even a one-time champion in F1 these days. When you have been following F1 as long as I have and seen very very talented drivers struggle to even win a race you know what I mean. Several titles in F1 is for the very very few and extremely talented drivers. Vettel is up there among the best of them, Alonso and Hamilton might be among the selected few too. How lucky we are to witness an era with such great talent on display. I cannot remember a more competitive era in F1 than now, it`s not one or two battling it out, i`t can be thre or four or even five fighting for the honours.

    1. Alonso and Hamilton has a need to constantly remind us about how great they are while Vettel seems content to keep his mouth shut and get the work done.

      Summarises it brilliantly really! I am not one to doubt Alonso or Hamilton’s talent, even as a Vettel fan, so when the opposite isn’t true I just can’t help but feel pitiful for that person’s delusion. Vettel is one of the top three drivers of the era, arguably the best, yet you’d have thought from the way some people portray him that he was never within a hope of winning a title just reading the comments. It saddens me greatly.

  7. @kimiwillbeback

    Alonso and Hamilton has a need to constantly remind us about how great they are

    Speak for yourself bud, I witness these ‘greats’ week-in week-out driving the wheels off their cars, on the racing track.
    Hey even your Kimi is a better racer than Vettel.
    I do not dislike Vettel, he’s a good and consistent driver with three WDC’s (might even get a fourth) but guys really, Alonso/Hamilton and perhaps even Kimi are just better than him.

    1. Requesting that I provide scientific evidence for my views is unrealistic, I just know that Mercedes would never chuck out Micheal Schumacher for Vettel (as they readily did for Hamilton).
      The proof is in the pudding.

      1. @jason12

        I just know that Mercedes would never chuck out Micheal Schumacher for Vettel (as they readily did for Hamilton).

        Don’t talk such nonsense. Vettel wasn’t even on the cards for a move to Mercedes because he’s in the best team in F1 right now – why would he even consider pursuing a seat anywhere else?

      2. I think you never read Jackiie’s Statement we tried for Sebastian at first but due to his contract length we decided to go for Lewis.

    2. I think you and a lot of other people grossly underestimate Vettel, and you really should know better by now. Every time he`s had to pull something special out of the bag he has, both in 2010 and 2012 he wouldn`t have been in with a chance unless he`d pulled of some remarkable performances to put himself back in contention.

      What you don`t see is that all these drivers are a work in progress. Take Alonso as an example. The only reason he won in 2005 was McLarens unrelability, if not for that Raikkonen would have won. Ferrari was totally lost in 2005 due to Bridgestone. In 2006 Schumacher came back in the second half of the season and had Alonso beat untill mechanical failure messed up Ferraris championship. But the Alonso of 2006 is not the same man as Alonso in 2013, he`s much stronger now with a lot more experience.
      Hamilton lost the championship in 2007 due to inexperience and some strange mistakes, no wonder as he was only 22. In 2008 he almost threw it away again but was saved by the bell. The 2013 version of Hamilton would not have put himself in that position as he too is much stronger now than he was 5-6 seasons ago.
      Vettel is only 25 and is growing in stature year by year. In 2010 he was fast but prone to mistakes. In 2011 he was fantastic but still you could see signs of loosing his head from time to time. In 2012 we saw Vettel play the long game for most of the season in a car that was absolutely not the fastest. But he was still there picking up good points, the “qualifying phenomenon” og 2011 was now suddenly better in race trim than in qualifying trim. When they got the car right he duly capitalized and won 4 in a row. He`s a much more complete driver in 2013 than he was in 2010.

      The one thing that sets Vettel apart from the others in my view is his will to win and his refusal to accept defeat. I get a sense he`s a very intelligent driver that only does what he needs to win. He keeps chipping away at his car to get it perfect because he knows that`s the easiest way to win. But when he`s staring defeat in the face he`s able to pull something special out of the bag and turn defeat into victory. Like Abu Dhabi and Brazil last year or win-streak at the end of the 2010-season. Perhaps these crucial moments are what defines Vettels true capabilities what speed and intensity is concerned, the rest could be Vettel playing the percentage game. In my view that`s the only way to explain why he always seem to put in his best performances when the pressure is on. There are some reserves there he can tap into at will.

      1. +1, I doubt I could’ve said it better myself! :)

      2. +10000, I think this Comment Settles all the Diversions we had here

  8. Thanks so much for the 1980 Monaco video. That is really special to me as I visited Europe for the first time that year and walked through the streets of Monte Carlo. It was a couple of months after the Grand Prix, but all I could think about was the fact I’m walking on the very streets where the Formula 1 cars race and roar through! Yes, the setting was beautiful, the casino and rich landscape was nice, but damn it, this is where the F1 cars run, right here on the street where I’m standing!!! I’ll never get over that feeling.

  9. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    11th March 2013, 23:39

    If Vettel decided he’d had enough tomorrow the Lewis and Fernando love-in would come to a swift end.

  10. Alonso THE Great
    12th March 2013, 10:05

    Despite the fractious relationship in 2007

    Alonso and lewis raced each other well in 2007. It’s quite evident lewis and Fernando know each other easily

    Lewis shows lot of respect and admiration towards fernando. Lewis value Fernando’s performances over the past 4 seasons (Which is clearly understandable). On other hand Fernando often say lewis is quickest and talented (Which again is true to some extent)

    Many people here think vettel has not been given the credit he deserves. Vettel has won 3 titles. Though vettel has more titles he is no where near lewis nor Alonso as well.

    Schumacher has 7 titles. Yet he got easily beaten by Rosberg consistently.

    Vettel is is very much a CC of schumacher. Vettel may even win few more WDC’s. Yet he is not a top draw driver. Vettel can be beaten easily when the machinery advantage is negated. 2012 was a fantastic example. Vettel trailed webber and remained 5th in Driver’s WDC until summer break. Only when newey came up with goods after monza vettel started to dominate proceedings. This was evidenced more with RBR drivers locking out front row on usual basis after monza

    1. I think you really need to Check the statistics before Commenting
      Vettel was P3 by the Summer break and his Worst position in WDC is 6th after Race 2 and After Monza Retirement he was P4 at that time He was trailing alonso by 39 points and Lewis was in P2 trailing Alonso by 37 Points.
      People really need to Stop thinking that Vettel was no where in contention before his 4 wins on the row.
      Vettel despite his 1 win stayed in P2 and P3 through out the season.

    2. Mclaren locked out the front row on numerous occasions as well, but they never were in control of the standings. Vettel would have led them for longer (having led the championship after R4 and R5) if it weren’t for the alternators (esp. Valencia, one of THE performacnes of the season, hands down). And before Singapore, Mclaren’s drivers didn’t suffer with mechanical issues significantly more than Vettel did. Hardly evidence that SV isn’t a top draw driver.

      And Michael Schumacher was in his 40s. Would Rosberg have beaten Schumacher in the 1990s?

      1. Absolutely!
        Schumacher is a much better now than he ever was in the past (with all that experience). It’s only the exceptional level of talent that’s on the grid now that exposed him.
        Bernard Hopkins (48 year old boxer) is only really shining now because of all that experience.
        I just don’t buy the 40s therefore lost talent story.
        Hope Lewis wins WDS’s well into his 40s.

        1. @jason12

          We’ll have to agree to disagree on that. I don’t believe that Michael Schumacher was at his peak in 2010-12, looking at what he got out of his cars then, compared to what he did at Benetton and Ferrari.

      2. Alonso THE Great
        12th March 2013, 13:43

        @ Dizzy -A

        Yes mclaren started the season with faster car. Mclaren matched RBR for pace consistently until monza. Then came the disaster in Singapore. From then to the end of season RBR have pulled away from rest of the grid.

        1 Failure in valencia is not a performance of the season.

        Mclaren had worst reliability than RBR in 2012 season

        1. @ Alonso The Great

          Yes mclaren started the season with faster car. Mclaren matched RBR for pace consistently until monza. Then came the disaster in Singapore. From then to the end of season RBR have pulled away from rest of the grid.

          Mclaren won the final two races, with different drivers. And Mclaren’s MP4-27 did more than “match” the RB8 until Monza- it was usually faster.

          1 Failure in valencia is not a performance of the season.

          Yes, Renault could have done better there. Otherwise Vettel had led evey lap in that race, after a stunning pole lap.

          Mclaren had worst reliability than RBR in 2012 season

          Doesn’t prove that their drivers were better- its not like they matched Vettel or Alonso in the standings, they were almost 100 points behind. Well, at least they beat Webber and Massa.

  11. I think the truth of it is that both Alonso and Hamilton (and Vettel) think that they are the best drivers on the grid, but they really can’t come out and say it (though Alonso alluded to his greatness by saying what he had to overcome in 2012 was on par with what the greatest in the sport had to achieve to be noteworthy – not just number of WDCs).

    Given they can’t say “I’m the best” it becomes a question of saying one of the other guys is the best. For Hamilton, Alonso’s a safe choice as folks see Alonso as the best driver today on the grid. Also, it as the flavor of returning the compliment. For Alonso, it’s a little trickier. For a number of reasons, you can’t say the guy who’s beaten you for the WDC is the best on the grid (only once at the time he talked about Hamilton, but now twice and also someone who is 3x WDC). Much better to say Hamilton, who many regard as the fastest on pure speed alone — see Top Gear for proof :) — but who also is inconsistent and whom Alonso feels confident in being able to beat, is the best.

    I think Alonso downplaying Vettel is a mark of how much respect Alonso has for him. I think they all have respect for each other as drivers and know they have to beat the other ones to win a WDC (no one is really thinking – oh hell, I gotta beat Button or Webber for the WDC-no offense to JB or Webber). Kimi’s the wild card.

    I think this is true if the cars are all on par. If one car is clearly dominant, I don’t think they lose as much sleep over it. It probably gnaws at Hamilton and Alonso a bit more in 2012 than 2011. Or 2010 for Alonso.

    1. @uan – from my observation I think Vettel appears to just show himself on track, and not bother with the mind games. I admire him for that: as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. To me though I think Hamilton and Alonso haven’t been able to speak with actions recently due to the great form of Vettel and RBR, so they have had to resort to words.

      So in essence, they are keeping the image alive (which without doubt is still there) by bolstering each other. It is just a shame so many take this as evidence for their driver being better than another and most importantly that the other driver isn’t on a par.

      1. @Max

        I think most people are trying to attribute these comments to mind games against vettel… I feel that’s reading too much into these comments…
        I dont think mind games will have any impact on Vettel … or on alonso or Hamilton for that matter.. they are experienced enough to handle all that…if any of them has a car advantage they will most likely win the title irrespective of what mind games are tried on them…

        I feel that the respect between Lewis and Fernando is genuine.. they’ve raced each other on the same machinery in the past… and knows how good the other one is…

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