Fernando Alonso has said Lewis Hamilton’s struggles this season are a “good reminder” of how crucial the car is to everyone’s success.
For the first time in nine seasons Hamilton drives a car that is currently unable to fight for the championship. His race results so far have ranged from good to downright terrible and after five Grands Prix he has only one podium to his name, thanks in large part to a double retirement from Red Bull.
It is far from the form we are used to from the seven-time world champion. After the same number of races last year, he already had three wins, but both he and Mercedes currently seem a long way from that feat.
Another world champion fighting in midfield because of the car below him is Alonso and he said Hamilton’s current form is a “good reminder” of how important the car is.
“This is F1. It will not be a fair sport in terms of numbers,” said the Spaniard BBC Sports†
“More than anything, this is a team sport and we tend to forget this, especially when we are successful. We are so happy with what we are achieving that even if we try to share it with the team, all the headlines are for the driver.
“It happened to me when I won the two championships [in 2005 and 2006 with Renault]† I beat Michael Schumacher. This was a big topic but my car was more reliable at the time and performed very well and you can’t praise that pack enough as the headlines will still be the driver. And it’s the same with Lewis.
“It is unthinkable to have more than 100 pole positions in F1. You need to have the best car and the best package for years to come.
“We did magic laps sometimes and we were P15, and how do you explain that to people? It will be impossible.
“He deserves everything he’s achieved in the past, but this year is a good reminder that in all those records and numbers, there’s a lot of what you have in your hands as a package in the car.”
Not only is Hamilton struggling to fight up front, he also has a battle to remain the better performing Mercedes driver as team-mate George Russell shows he can get more out of the malfunctioning Mercedes.
Russell, who has joined the team this season, is 23 points ahead of his veteran team-mate in the drivers’ standings, but Alonso still believes Hamilton will emerge victorious at the end of the season.
When asked if he is surprised that Russell Hamilton has driven so close, Alonso replied: “Yes and no. George has been very fast in recent years and I think everyone expected him to be a strong competitor for Lewis.
“But I still believe Lewis will eventually finish the championship at the front. This is only a five race championship but eventually when things are trickier or [there are] difficult situations, Lewis will have even more experience and maybe more talent.”
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