McLaren driver Fernando Alonso took time out after the Hungary race to heap praise on ex-teammate Lewis Hamilton, with a twist.
For the first time this year Lewis has taken the championship lead, albeit by only 6 points over stable mate Nico Rosberg. Sunday’s win means that Lewis has now won 5 out of the last 6 races, and is now in a position to be called ‘favourite’ for the title.
“Hamilton is in a good position,” Alonso told Spanish radio COPE in an interview.
“He has the momentum coming from behind and in this sport, when you are coming from behind and you can catch the leader, you have something extra.
“And it’s the opposite for the driver who was leading and had a bit advantage: they catch you, they overtake you and you go into a mini crisis.
“So even though they are close on points, now Hamilton looks stronger and a better contender.”
Fernando reminisced back to Hungary 2007 when as defending world champion, he blocked Lewis from taking his last flying lap in qualifying. Alonso received a penalty for his misdemeanour, and Lewis went on to win the race from the inherited pole position.
Fast forward 9 years and there was more drama in qualifying as Nico’s fastest lap was set amidst waved yellow flags. It has been suggested afterwards that Lewis instigated the steward’s enquiry into Nico’s lap, which happened some 3 hours after the race resulting in no further action from the incident.
Fernando said: “Yeah, it reminds me of things as well. Let’s say Rosberg doesn’t have an easy teammate.
“In that sense he’s very strong on track, very fast, he never makes a mistake.
“And off the track he has significant influence. Good luck to Rosberg with that (laughs).
“He can’t make a mistake anywhere because apart from being one of the best in the world, he can feel the pressure off the track as well.”
The battle is set to continue again this weekend in Germany, where the championship lead going into the summer break can prove to be a massive psychological boost.
In 2007 Fernando was fighting for the title, this year he will be fighting for points.