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
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022