On the face of it, it seemed like the relationship between Alonso and Hamilton would be a simple one.
A reigning 2x world champion in Alonso would lead the charge and Hamilton, an F1 rookie, would start slowly and learn the ropes. How wrong this assumption was.
Hamilton performed admirably all year and tension arose on numerous occasions between the two, notably in Hungary and Monaco. For the final race of the season, The FIA even had to employ an ‘independent observer’ to ensure everything was fair. The end result was not good as Alonso left the team and both failed to win the title.
Former F1 driver Pedro de la Rosa has told of his belief that the pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso at McLaren in 2007 was the strongest pairing in the history of the sport.
Speaking recently on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, de la Rosa explained how he felt the driver pairing could have gone on to be very successful had tensions between the pair not boiled over throughout the year.
As test driver at McLaren during the pairing in 2007, de la Rosa felt that Hamilton and Alonso were even better than the pairing of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at the team.
“I was surprised how it all exploded,” de la Rosa said. “If we look back, that driver pairing is possibly the strongest there’s ever been. Ever. So it’s nothing against Senna/Prost, they’re my heroes, forever heroes, but that level – Fernando/Lewis – was amazing.
“I remember looking at their data and thinking, ‘these guys are from a different planet’. And still, I was not expecting for the relationship to explode. It was a shame because those guys would have brought so many championships to McLaren.”
Despite the level of tension and constant mind games between the pair, de la Rosa assures that the pair still held respect for one another on the circuit.
De la Rosa explained how the pair never made contact or dangerous moves on each other while racing, and that the on-track battles were always fair between both drivers.
“They always respected each other massively at the track because they knew how good the other was, although they never said it publicly, they had a lot of respect for each other,” de la Rosa commented.
“There was nothing wrong ever done at the racetrack between them. It was always a strong fight but fair.
“There was no pushing, breaking the front wing or nothing. There was just… two gladiators fighting bravely at the racetrack so I have no bad memories about that.
“Both were massively fast, talented, and then I think Lewis learned a lot from Fernando that year.”
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F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|Russia ||27 Sep|
|10h00 - 11h30||Free practice 1|
|14h00 - 15h30||Free practice 2|
|11h00 - 12h00||Free practice 3|
|14h00 - 15h00||Qualification|
|14h10 - 16h10||Race|