Hamilton & Verstappen: Alonso explains his controversal comments

Fernando Alonso points his finger at Formula One fans who need to stop raging against each other after he clarified comments about Lewis Hamilton in a Dutch newspaper interview on Twitter. Alonso tries to explain his controversial comments made about his fellow drivers Hamilton and Verstappen.

In an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf published on Saturday, two-time world champion Alonso spoke about his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton and current world champion Max Verstappen as he reflected on last year’s podium in Qatar.

Alonso says he believes Verstappen performed “better” than Hamilton last year, was “very dominant” and is a “worthy champion” for 2021, adding, “I also have a lot of respect for Lewis. Still, it’s something different when you’ve won seven world titles and only had to fight with your teammate.”



Alonso wants to drive with Max

“Then I think a championship has less value than when you have fewer titles but have had to fight against other drivers with the same or even better material,” said the Spaniard, who is thrilled with Max Verstappen’s performances and hopes that one day he will be able to compete alongside the Dutchman in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

“I know Max would also like to do endurance racing one day, for example the Le Mans 24 Hours,” said Alonso. “I’m definitely open to doing that together. We should definitely give it a chance if we can drive for a competitive team.”


Alonso wants to improve social media

But after the quotes were picked up and began circulating in several media outlets saying that Alonso considers Verstappen’s championships more valuable than Hamilton’s titles, Alonso took to Twitter to clarify his comments.

He wrote: “And again… Please, all titles are amazing, well deserved and inspiring. Incomparable to each other and let’s enjoy the champions and legends of our time. I am tired of the constant search for headlines. Let’s enjoy them.”


The quotes and tweet prompted heated discussion among fans on social media, but Alonso says he wants to “try to help and make social media a better place” by clarifying his comments.

“We all have to work together on this,” Alonso said. “We have to stop pitting fans against each other. We are all in the same [thing]. Great champions, great athletes, and we try to enjoy this beautiful time.”



Hamilton with a dig aimed at their time together at McLaren

Alonso pointed out in the original interview that he had not fought Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella for the title in 2005 and 2006, nor had Verstappen fought Sergio Perez or former teammate Alex Albon for victories.

“But above all [Michael] Schumacher fought with his teammate Rubens Barrichello to become champion five times in a row, and Hamilton with Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas,” Alonso added.

“That’s something different, I think.”

But seemingly in response to Alonso’s comments, Hamilton posted a picture of them together on the podium from the 2007 US Grand Prix, when they were teammates at McLaren. At that race, Alonso was furious with McLaren for losing to Hamilton, then in his rookie season, amid a bitter season that ended with Alonso leaving the team after just one year.



Hamilton: “Interesting to see comments like that”.

Hamilton posted the picture of him standing on the top step of the podium and placing his hand on Alonso’s shoulder simply with a thumbs-up emoji. After the race in Mexico, Hamilton was asked about Alonso’s statements and the picture, with the British driver unable to refrain from making a dig.

“I don’t really have much to say about it. To be honest, it makes me giggle a little bit, but I’ve tried to be really respectful over the years.”

“For example, when people have asked me who I thought was the better driver, I’ve always tried to give praise, but it’s definitely interesting to see the comments that are made, but it doesn’t really matter. So I just gave it a thumbs up,” he explains.



Alonso: “I’m not saying anything more!”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also doesn’t leave a good mark on Alonso reputation saying that “He likes to tease. It’s comedy. It makes the headlines and this sport is about headlines. They are great champions and Alonso likes to throw things around. I don’t think it worries Lewis one iota though.”

When Alonso is asked after the Mexico Grand Prix what he thinks of Max Verstappen’s performance as the Dutchman eventually broke the winning record, he says:

“I don’t talk about others anymore because I think there are always misunderstandings. It was a very good win.”


However, Verstappen’s second title win now puts him level with Alonso, with the Red Bull driver already having passed the Spaniard in terms of grand prix victories. Alonso could well imagine Verstappen coming close to the sport’s greatest, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, in the big statistics, provided he has the necessary material, as he says in an interview with “De Telegraaf”.



Seven titles for Verstappen?

“He has the talent,” says Alonso. “We are tied now, but I suspect Max will win more world titles in Formula 1. We both have one in karting as well. Especially now that I probably won’t have the time and luxury to drive a dominant car in Formula 1, Max will far surpass my numbers.”

“Seven titles, like Schumacher and Hamilton? That will be difficult, I think,” he adds. “But Max certainly has the talent to do it, but you have to have a car that is very competitive over the years. You don’t have that guarantee. It’s easy to think that Red Bull will be very dominant in the coming years, but we don’t know for sure. I hope for Max’s sake that he has that luck.”



Alonso on selfie with Verstappen after title win

After Verstappen’s title win in Japan, Alonso was keen to get a photo with the newly crowned world champion, so he took the opportunity during the post-race interviews to take a selfie with Verstappen.

Asked about the situation, he says: “I am someone who takes a lot of selfies. That was a great moment. When the race was over, everyone thought Max was not the champion. Then I got dressed and heard that he had taken the title after all.”

“That was quite confusing for everyone. I then saw him at the venue for the TV interviews and thought it was a good time to take a photo. He had just realised he was champion and I was and am happy for him.”


Alonso: Verstappen’s talent was immediately clear to me

It was clear to the Alpine driver early on that Verstappen would become a force to be reckoned with in Formula One, which is why he swapped helmets with the Dutchman in Brazil 2015 when Verstappen did not yet have a regular cockpit and was driving for Toro Rosso in the first free practice session.

“It was my wish to swap helmets there,” he clarifies in retrospect. “I already had a whole collection at that time, but one of Max’s was still missing. It was his first year in Formula 1 and I’m sure there was a lot of criticism that he already had a seat as a 17-year-old. I was one of those who thought that was nonsense, because we shouldn’t judge drivers by their age.”


“If they are better than others, why shouldn’t they be allowed to drive in Formula One? I actually thought it was good that we had such a young driver on the grid. It’s easy for me to say now that I saw straight away that he had enormous talent,

“Of course, he wasn’t in a super-fast car back then either. But it was clear that this was the beginning of something beautiful,” said Alonso.




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