Fernando Alonso ditches Lewis Hamilton to choose Max Verstappen as the ‘best’ driver on the F1 grid

F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain
Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso celebrate on the podium after the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso has named Max Verstappen as the only driver on the 2023 Formula 1 grid who is better than himself.

Verstappen, the reigning two-time F1 champion, started the new season in fine fashion, winning the Bahrain Grand Prix and coming second in Saudi Arabia despite qualifying troubles forcing him to start P15.

While Red Bull Racing's dominance this year was expected, Aston Martin have emerged as the surprise package. They currently seem to have the second-best car on the grid, something Alonso has capitalized on with a podium finish in both races this campaign.

Despite having a capable car under him, Alonso has ruled out a title fight with Red Bull and called Verstappen, and not long-term rival Lewis Hamilton, the 'best driver in the current field.'

He said (via gp33.nl):

"At the moment he [Max Verstappen] is the only one I would not like to compete with. I respect Max enormously. At the moment there is no driver who can just enter Red Bull and beat Max. If you take Max out of Red Bull there may be a chance."

The Spaniard continued:

"I think he's at the top of his game now and I see him as the best rider in the paddock. His improvements were evident when he started. He started at a high level, but still had once an accident, because he was perhaps a little too aggressive."

He concluded:

"But now he is so mature and combined with his natural speed it will be very difficult to beat him. He is the favorite for this year and most likely for years to come."

How Aston Martin's 2023 F1 season pans out will be clear when upgrades are brought to the car, believes Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso has stated that Aston Martin's true ambition for the season will be clearer when the team starts bringing upgrades to the car.

The British team, like most other teams on the F1 grid, are expected to make their first major upgrades to the car during one of the European races, with Alonso naming Imola and Baku as the possible races where the AM23 could be tweaked.

Speaking to the media during a press conference, he said:

"From Baku and Imola onwards, the teams will start swapping parts on the cars. Maybe that will change how competitive you feel. So let's see. Hopefully, we can keep our pace."

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Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh
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