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Alonso welcomes Hamilton to the midfield club

NEWS STORY
20/05/2022

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has welcomed his former teammate, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to the midfield club.

The Spaniard was referring to Hamilton's ongoing struggles with the Mercedes W13, which, as opposed to battling with the leaders for an eighth title, see him struggling further down the order.

"This is the nature of the sport," he tells BBC Sport. "Sometimes you have a better car, sometimes you have not such a good car and you still need to fight and make some progress.

"This year we see that the driver is very important in F1 but not crucial," he continues. "Lewis is driving as good as he has been the last eight years, he was dominating the sport and breaking all the records and one-hundred-and-something pole positions.

"Now he is doing a mega lap, as he said in Australia or somewhere, and he is one second behind... so, yeah... welcome."

While it is the driver who dominates the headlines and attracts the glory, Alonso is keen to point out that without the right car and team he is nothing, the Spaniard none too subtly adding his two-penn'orth to the 'he had the best car, so he couldn't lose' debate.

"This is a team sport more than anything and we tend to forget this, especially when we have success. "We are so happy for what we are achieving that even if we try to share with the team, all the headlines are for the driver.

"It happened to me when I won the two championships, I was beating Michael Schumacher," he continues. "This was a big topic, but my car was more reliable at that time and had very good performance and you cannot praise enough that package because the headlines will still be the driver. And with Lewis it's the same.

"To have more than one hundred pole positions in F1 is something unthinkable. You need to have the best car and package for many, many years.

"We were doing magic laps sometimes and we were P15, how do you explain that to people? It will be impossible.

"He deserves everything he's achieved in the past but this year is a good reminder that in all those records and numbers there is a big part on what you have in your hands as a package in the car."

Asked about the relative performance between Hamilton and his new teammate, George Russell, Alonso says: "George has been very fast in the last few years and I think everyone was expecting him to be a tough competitor for Lewis. But I still believe Lewis will eventually finish the championship in front.

"This is just a five-race championship, but eventually when things are more tricky or there are difficult situations, Lewis will still have more experience and maybe more talent."

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1. Posted by kenji, 21/05/2022 1:47

"There is a world of difference when one 'very good' driver has a totally suoerior car that allows him to take pole, then cover off the start and pull away into the distance. That driver then just has to maintain the gap, in his vastly superior car and not have to fight again for position...plus being given the benefits of the blue flags from time to time. Of course I have simplified this scenario but the principal remains constant. The current situation is also not lost on some other outspoken drivers....welcome to the mid field. As i said last week ,Mercedes will claw back performance by eliminating some if not all their current problems. Hopefully others will also be making further progress at the same time."

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2. Posted by pap_pap_c, 21/05/2022 1:03

"In his rookie year, in the same competitive car, Lewis beat Alonso. I remember. It seems Alonso hasn't forgotten either."

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3. Posted by Jean-Pierre, 20/05/2022 15:51

"This is a misconception about F1 top drivers. The same was said about Michael. It is one thing to be P1 once in the best car for a few races, or even a whole season if the driver is really good and doesn't COMMIT ERRORS, because lets face it, if one is driving for the best F1 team, there are NO excuses, one must win. So any error is almost unacceptable. Pressure? You bet. Note that almost all the teammates of the great champion are never close to the top guy because they commit error too often in the course of a season. Also the second guy doesn't necessarily finish the season in second place, even though he should, since he is in the same car as the champion

It is a whole other thing to be able to NOT COMMIT errors for several seasons in a row. Very few drivers can do this, and that is why they are in a league of their own. So, may be its time to quit the BS about all these great champion and give them the credit they deserve,"

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4. Posted by kenji, 20/05/2022 15:06

"I think that Alonso is simply voicing what we have always known... Hamilton is a very good driver, no doubts there, but he's always been flattered by the car he's been given along with a team of people who are not only supportive but some of the best in the business. If you combine all of that with a highly manipulative jingoistic media pack then the picture wiil always be distorted. What we are witnessing ATM is a more realistic appraisal of just how crucial the car is in the 'king' making cauldron called F1."

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