Hamilton: Alonso thought he controlled F1 driver market in 2014

Lewis Hamilton says fellow Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso's key career mistake was thinking he "controlled" the driver market when he left Ferrari

Hamilton: Alonso thought he controlled F1 driver market in 2014

Hamilton and Alonso had an intense battle for the F1 title as McLaren team-mates in 2007, when they were ultimately both pipped by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, but have not gone head to head for a championship since.

Alonso never managed to add to his 2005/06 crowns, but Hamilton became a five-time world champion last weekend. Hamilton believes Alonso's error was letting go of his Ferrari seat in 2014.

Ferrari signed Sebastian Vettel in his place, and Hamilton reckons Alonso only then ended up at McLaren because hopes of joining Red Bull or Mercedes were dashed.

"I don't regret he didn't go in a better car," Hamilton told Autosport. "I know he could have had more world titles.

"But ultimately it's not like he didn't have opportunities. "He was a top driver and he could go almost where he wanted to go. And decisions are very key.

"Decisions are where you place yourself. It is key though if you wrongly think you control the driver market.

"He believed he controlled it [in 2014]. In my understanding, as soon as he gave up the position [at Ferrari], Seb grabbed it and then it's not like he could go back.

"Then he was like: 'I'll go for Seb's spot [at Red Bull]'. But then they filled it.

"And then he was like, 'Oh, shit'. And there was no place where I was [at Mercedes].

"But I have so much respect for him.

"He is a phenomenal driver and through these years his respect level has still remained very high - how he has driven, and how he has conducted himself exploring outside [F1] in different realms.

"I could make the decision to leave this team and go somewhere else, which would be a risk, and that decision could either bode well or go bad for me."

Looking back at the 2007 campaign, Hamilton thinks people did not appreciate the pressure he was under at the time as he went up against Alonso as an F1 rookie.

"I feel like people underestimate that season," he said.

"Yes I did, unlike other people, come into a top team. But it is easier probably in some respects to be in a lower team where you don't have so much pressure.

"Being in a top team straight away and having to try to deliver to a two-time world champion who has been through what I have been through to this point, is a huge demand.

"It was one of the toughest years of my life to balance everything.

"Plus, I had not had any fame. All of a sudden people were taking pictures, [and I was] travelling more than ever.

"It was tough, but looking back now I really appreciate that year. But I wish I knew then what I know now."

shares
comments
Graham Hill's 10 greatest races

Previous article

Graham Hill's 10 greatest races

Next article

Formula 2 racer Louis Deletraz gets first Formula 1 test with Haas

Formula 2 racer Louis Deletraz gets first Formula 1 test with Haas
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Lewis Hamilton
Author Jonathan Noble
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021