Alpine driver Fernando Alonso shared his thoughts on the 2007 season driving alongside Lewis Hamilton with McLaren F1 team. Speaking on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, the two-time world champion spoke of drivers in his generation that he respected and brought out the best in him in terms of drivability and as an individual.
Describing his year with Lewis Hamilton, when the Briton was a rookie in the sport, Alonso shared the shortcomings of that season and said:
“Understandably he was not ready for the fight because he was a rookie and coming into Formula 1. And I was not performing at my best, not really integrated with the team and for sure we had all the fights together and all the stress together to fight for the championship.”
Alonso further highlighted the respect he had for Lewis Hamilton while he saw him grow in the season after. On being asked which driver he respected the most apart from Michael Schumacher, Alonso mentioned the Briton's name first without hesitation.
While the 2007 season witnessed a bitter intra-team rivalry between the two drivers, over the years the two have grown to have immense respect for each other as individuals and for each other's talent.
Alonso was already a double world champion when Lewis Hamilton was in his rookie year. However, a clash in egos and team dynamics led to a tumultuous relationship between the two. It was not until the Spaniard joined Ferrari in 2013 that respect started to grow between the two old rivals.
Highlighting the years since 2007, Alonso shared his thoughts on the theme of his battle with Lewis Hamilton and said:
'We were not well managed at that time and all the 2007 theme. Ok we finished with the same points in the championship which you could see as a very big fight and an even fight. But I think we both could have done better."
Despite the events of 2007, the highlight of the on-track battles between Alonso and Lewis Hamilton has been that both have always fought each other with clean race-craft in play. Their mutual respect has always reflected in their rules of engagement on track, reflecting the genuinity of their bond as fellow competitors.
Fernando Alonso's rivalry with Lewis Hamilton in 2007 was one of the highlights of both their careers
The Alpine driver's relationship with Lewis Hamilton, who was in his rookie year in Formula 1, went down as a bitter rivalry where both clashed within the team. While the Spaniard was blamed for being a bully in the team, the Briton was believed to be over-favored at the McLaren team, leading to a complex dynamic within the team.
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One of the fallouts of McLaren's 2007 season led to the spy-gate scandal, where the McLaren team were investigated by the FIA for spying on their rivals Ferrari, who they were fighting for the world championship.