Hamilton: Alonso thought he controlled driver market

Lewis Hamilton says he has no regrets about not having more title head-to-heads with Fernando Alonso, because it was the Spaniard’s own decisions that cost him the chance for greater success.

Hamilton: Alonso thought he controlled driver market

Hamilton and Alonso endured an intense season as McLaren teammates in 2007, with their sometimes fractious relationship creating internal friction at the outfit.

They are viewed as the team leading drivers of their generation but Alonso's career path with Renault and Ferrari after McLaren meant the pair would never enjoy a season-long fight for the title again.

Hamilton says the fact that they never properly battled for a title was ultimately decided when Alonso made the mistake in 2014 of believing he controlled the driver market.

“I don’t regret he didn’t go in a better car,” Hamilton told Motorsport.com in an interview reflecting on his fifth world championship campaign and his career.

“For the sport, when I am just doing a press conference with him, it’s questions to the two world champions, but in my mind I know he could have had more world titles. But ultimately it’s not like he didn’t have opportunities.

“He was a top driver and he could go almost where he wanted to go. And decisions are very very key. Decisions are where you place yourself. It is key though if you wrongly think you control the driver market.

“For him he believed he controlled it [in 2014]. In my understanding, there was also Seb [Vettel] and me at the time, and as soon as he gave up the position [at Ferrari], Seb grabbed it and then it’s not like he could go back. 

“And then he was like: I’ll go for Seb’s spot, but then they filled it, and then he was like, ‘Oh, shit’. And there was no place where I was [at Mercedes].

“But I have so much respect for him. He is a phenomenal driver and I think through these years it has not been a bad thing because his respect level has still remained very, very high - of how he has driven, and how he has conducted himself exploring outside in different realms. 

“I could make the decision to leave this team and go somewhere else, which would be a risk, and that decision could either bode well or go bad for me.”

Read Also:

Looking back at the 2007 campaign, Hamilton thinks people did not appreciate the pressure he was under and how hard he had to dig to cope with going up against Alonso.

“I feel like people underestimate that season,” he said. “They skim past it so much. Yes I did, unlike other people, come in to a top team. But it is easier probably in some respects to be in a lower team where you don’t have so much pressure on you.

“Being in a top team straight away and having to try to deliver to a two-time world champion who has been through what I have been through to this point almost, is a huge demand, and it was one of the toughest years of my life to balance everything.

“Plus, I had not had any fame. All of a sudden people were taking pictures of me, travelling more than ever. It was tough, but looking back now I really appreciate that year, but I wish I knew then what I know now.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-22 and Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-22

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren MP4-22 and Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-22

Photo by: Lorenzo Bellanca / LAT Images

shares
comments
Alonso backs "zero tolerance" track limits approach

Previous article

Alonso backs "zero tolerance" track limits approach

Next article

Deletraz gets maiden F1 test with Haas

Deletraz gets maiden F1 test with Haas
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021