There is a fairly petty war of words raging in the F1 paddock at present on a variety of topics.
Fernando Alonso has now been accused of snubbing his ex-team mate Lewis Hamilton, while Lewis is forging a debate over whether its the car or the driver who is most important.
Alonso says greatest rival was Schumacher
Alonso who was Hamilton’s team mate at McLaren during the British drivers’ rookie season has declared his greatest ever rival to be Michael Schumacher.
“It is difficult to pick one, because I think all of them were great rivals and very talented drivers as well,” Alonso told Bang & Olufsen when asked about his toughest opponent.
“But because when I got into the sport, Michael Schumacher was dominating races and everything, that fight with him is still the one that I will always pick. Fighting with Michael was very special.”
Egg on Lewis’ face?
This kind of left egg on Hamilton’s face as he’d previously revealed he felt his toughest F1 adversary was in fact Alonso.
“I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22,” Hamilton recalled.
”I was so young mentally and of course, OK in terms of skill but it’s a lot of pressure to go against a great like him.
“So I would say out of pure pace I think… I always say [my toughest opponent] is Fernando and his ability.”
Is it the car? Or the driver?
Having been overtaken in Jeddah by a Max Verstappen storming back through the field, when asked if it was a concern for F1 to see Red Bull so far ahead, Lewis Hamilton said:
“I don’t know it’s not for me to say, but I’ve never seen a car so fast.
“When we were fast we weren’t that fast. That’s the fastest car I’ve seen compared to the rest, I don’t know why or how but he came past me with serious speed.
“I didn’t even bother to block because there was a massive speed difference.”
Alonso suggests Hamilton is getting old
During the following week a number of F1 pundits debated whether Mercedes’ early cars during the hybrid ear were more dominant.
Even Alonso was dragged in to the conversation though in typical Fernando style he was blunt and to the point.
“I don’t agree at all,” he said, “Last week [in Saudi Arabia] I finished 20 seconds behind Checo and Max [Verstappen]. He and [Nico] Rosberg were a minute ahead in 2014 and 2015… He has a short memory, he’s getting old!”
Ramadan big impact on 2024 F1 calendar
Verstappen adds his thoughts
Max Verstappen too has been suckered into the debate also dismissing Hamilton’s assessment.
“I think if you look at the statistics, those statements are not correct. But we also have a very good car! There is of course nothing wrong with that. Yet we are not as dominant as Mercedes has shown in some years.”
Verstappen suggested Lewis was doing himself no favours by thinking this way.
“I don’t spend much time with that [kind of thinking], it won’t help you either,” the two-time champion added.
“Whatever we have done in the eight years that Mercedes is so dominant… We also tried to close the gap, that’s all you can do!”
Verstappen exclusive F1 record on the cars
Whether Verstappen’s machinery is as dominant as the best of the Mercedes cars during the period 2014-2020 is academic.
However, it dies appear this seasons title race is heading in one direction only and should Verstappen claim his third championship in Abu Dhabi he’ll become one of only five drivers in F1 history to win three consecutive Drivers’ Championships.
Clearly the season momentum is faltering with the cancelation of the Chinese GP as the drivers descend into “no its you…”, “really I think its him” kind of silly talk.
READ MORE: Ricciardo to drive RB19 at Spanish test
That is incredible… really not good to see scenes like this after the Australian GP. 👀 👀
📹 Formula. City on Instagram #AusGP #F1 #Formula1 pic.twitter.com/W1v6TY1veP
— FormulaNerds 🤓🏁 (@Formula_Nerds) April 9, 2023