The two-time World Champion, Fernando Alonso so has made his return into the Formula 1 in 2021 believes Lewis Hamilton was never unbeatable and is glad that Max Verstappen has been able to break the monotony of Mercedes’ domination in the turbo hybrid era. Currently the Dutchman leads Lewis Hamilton by 12 points in the Driver’s Championship and heads into the Styrian Grand Prix in the pole position.
The seven-time World Champion has been left puzzled in the previous three races. This year, Lewis Hamilton is facing his biggest challenge from a rival outside of his Mercedes team since he started winning Drivers’ World Championships with the German squad in 2014 – six out of seven during that time, the exception being 2016 when he lost out to Nico Rosberg.
Fernando Alonso on Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix
Asked in an interview with AS what he makes of the World Championship tussle, the Spaniard said, “Very good, actually. After years of monotony for Mercedes, where it was just Hamilton versus Bottas until the middle of the year and then it was over, to have two strong rivals is a good thing for the sport. For them, it’s a bit more stressful. For those who aren’t there, it’s a bit more fun.”
Put to him that Hamilton is no longer unbeatable, Alonso replied, “He never was. But he used to have to beat his team-mate and now he has to beat another car that sometimes will be faster, sometimes slower.
“They are both at a very high level. When the Mercedes is a little bit better on a weekend, Verstappen still does something out of the ordinary to be in the fight. And when Red Bull is a bit better, Hamilton pulls something out of the hat and is in the fight. They have both raised the level and that’s interesting.”.
“Right now, we would need a very big stroke of luck,” said the 39-year-old of his podium prospects. If it comes, fine. But normally it won’t come. The podiums did last year were very good for the team and everyone’s morale, but in those conditions Red Bull only had one driver, practically, and Ferrari weren’t there – they were sixth in Constructors’.