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“Confident” Alonso talks up Hamilton, but says Vettel deserved his three titles
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Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jan 2013   |  12:49 pm GMT  |  309 comments

The final player to take the stage at Ferrari’s pre-season warm up event in Madonna di Campiglio was Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard, who narrowly missed out on his third world title at the final round in Brazil last year, is refreshed and ready to challenge again with the new Ferrari, which will be launched in just over two weeks time.

Ferrari got their sums wrong on the 2012 car and started the season around 1.5 seconds off the pace. This year Alonso sees no reason why the new car, developed in the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne by a strengthened aero team, shouldn’t be there or thereabouts at the start of the season, giving him a chance to challenge,

“This year everything should be much more normal and we are much more confident,” he said.
“We can be faster or slower, but not 1.5 or two seconds off the pace. It is maybe impossible to be worse than last year, so I am confident.”

With no significant rule changes, in theory the cars will be evolutions of the 2012 models with declining margins for development, so it should be a close season. Alonso will be hoping so, with little margin between the top cars, as this will give a platform for his consistency to prevail.

Alonso made comments towards the end of last year about who he rates most highly among his opponents and cited Hamilton, today he was back on the subject,

“Who is the strongest driver? My answer is Hamilton. It was true last year, it was true this year,” he told the audience.

“It is a personal opinion, not political, not to make people think something. Who is the strongest opponent, the strongest driver on grid? Who is the one you have to keep an eye on? It is Hamilton – and it will still be Hamilton next year.

“He is a super good driver because he won every year with any car: he won in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 they started around two seconds off the pace with the McLaren, and Hamilton was able to win races – and it was the same in 2010. Last year also Nico we saw winning in China with Mercedes. So with Hamilton he will be able to win more than one race.”

But Hamilton has won only one world title during Alonso’s career, while Sebastian Vettel has won three, more than the Spaniard himself. Asked why that didn’t rate more highly for him Alonso made clear that he felt Vettel deserved the success he had enjoyed, “In 2011, there was a fantastic performance from him. It is true the car was much in front of everybody, they [Red Bull] were first and second consistently, and when the car is good you tend to relax in some races. But I remember difficult races in 2011 with wet/dry conditions, and he did not do any single mistake.

“So for sure in these three years there were moments when he was better than anybody else and he deserved these three championships.”

It’s not necessary to see this thesis as disrespectful to Vettel. Alonso has to view it this way, after all Hamilton he is the only one of his rivals who has raced alongside him in the same team and been able to beat him over a season. You can debate the rights and wrongs of that momentous 2007 season at McLaren, but Alonso knows Hamilton’s strengths and weaknesses from that experience far more closely than he can know Vettel’s, never having competed in equal machinery with him.

None of this will bother Vettel one iota; the German has three world championship trophies in his cabinet and no-one can take them away from him. This year he will go out and seek a fourth and Alonso will be one of his main rivals again. Meanwhile Hamilton is not expected to challenge for the championship, given how far back Mercedes were at the end of 2012, but Alonso has no doubt that the Briton will win a race or races in 2013.

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309 Comments
  1. Anne says:

    I´m not so sure those comments won´t bother Vettel. However Alonso is right. When it comes to talent, killer instints and skills Hamilton is his strongest rival. Hamilton will not spend his first year in Mercedes as vacation time. He is going to fight. Of course the car may not help him to accomplish much but he is going to fight for as many points as possible in every race.

    1. Carlo_Carrera says:

      If Hamilton has such a great “killer instinct” how come he did win the WDC in 2007 and 2010?

      Hamilton is an aggressive driver but he also makes too many mistakes.

      1. David S says:

        With respect you miss the point.
        Only hamilton has beaten Alonso over the course of a season in equal machinery at the top level of F1. Oh yes, and Hamilton was in his F1 rookie year as well….and he dodged the Alonso ‘friendly’ fire grenade fired into the Mclaren camp…

        The points table speaks for itself……give Lewis some RESPECT.

      2. Mingojo says:

        I’m not sure Hamilton beat Alonso with equal treatment. In China, during qualy Alonso’s tyre pressures were not right in Q3 which triggered the FIA to put an observer in the garage the following race. Besides, we listened Ron Dennis saying at the end of the race ‘we were not racing Kimi, we were racing Alonso’. They were other incidents during that year and even James Allen wrote in F1 racing that Lewis had received the best strategies in comparison to Fernando.

      3. Stacy says:

        alonso was very poor in 2007. he cant even get pole in that mclaren X ferrari hybrid car. he had to get the setup information from Kimi ‘s car via email exchange with pedro and mike coughlan in 2007.

        Nth to be proud of to beat alonso in his bad yaer!!

      4. Aplomb says:

        Exactly, but, as ever, Alonso drops little words of poison to his fans and supplicating Spanish Journalists that he knows full well will get blown up out of all proportions….So you still get people in denial that Hamilton, as a Rookie, gave him a good beating in 2007, coming up with increasingly bizarre conspiracies to explain the facts.

      5. clyde says:

        Didnt they finish on equal points inspite of the fact that the whole team including Ron was polarised against Alonso for the last 4 races of 2007

      6. Anne says:

        I think you mean didn´t win,right? 2007 it was his first season. And he did a lot better than people expected.2010, Ferrari and in particular Red Bull had better cars. Mistakes? If the mechanics mess up the pit stops it is not Hamilton´s mistake. If the car has reliability problems it is not Hamilton´s mistake. If you could be more specific about mistakes I´d really appreciated

      7. Andrew C says:

        I think you’re stuck in 2011. Hamilton made as many mistakes as Alonso or Vettel did in 2012 – ie few. He’s clearly maturing and developing as a driver. He has the underlying skill and pace to be more of a problem to Alonso than Vettel. All 3 are great but I think everyone has seen that Hamilton in an average car is a far greater threat than Vettel in an average car.

      8. Stacy says:

        vet won in torro rosso. had lewis drove a more average car than vet??

        In 2009, when the car was bad, lewis was bad. His wins came when the team revamped the car heavily into front runner.

        People like to overlook these facts available on the net.

      9. Spinodontosaurus says:

        You are right to an extent Stacy. But the STR3 that Vettel drove was a solid car. He only finished outside the points three times through the season (when he finished), one of which was in the STR2 at Turkey and the other was a 9th in China; which would have been a points finish with todays system.
        Not quite up there with the BMW Sauber or Renault, but close and probably top of the midfield. Somewhat similar to Force India this season actually.

        The 2009 Mclaren was not as bad as people made it out to be. It was ok-ish at the start, terrible in the middle but was very strong at the end, and Hamilton finished with only 15 more points in 2009 than Vettel in 2008.

        Vettel in the STR3 averaged 2.7 points per race (STR2 was used for first 5 races).
        Hamilton averaged 2.9 points per race in 2009.

      10. KRB says:

        I’d go so far as to say that Hamilton made the fewest errors of any driver last season. It is still baffling to me how he ended up with fewer pts over 20 races than he scored in 2011 in 19 races, where he had a few too many avoidable incidents.

      11. Richard says:

        And that is exactly why he is going to Merc, to grow up, and become the next Alonso.

      12. Stacy says:

        greatest driver?? too overrated imo.

      13. Kay says:

        Did you miss the final race of 2007? If the car didn’t have problems he would’ve bagged it!

        2010 was tight for the top 3-4 drivers including Hamilton, it was too close a damn call between them all and Hamilton was in the mix despite not having the best car (NOT suggesting it’s bad, just not the top-top).

        If you base on killer instinct alone as the way to win then might as well give WDC to everybody from top to bottom of the grid.

      14. Carlo_Carrera says:

        In 2007 he should have had the WDC wrapped up long before the last race but he made so many driving errors it cost him the championship. The same goes for 2010. His car was fast enough. He wasn’t good enough.

      15. Stacy says:

        i didn’t miss. Lewis drove into gravel in shanghai and screw up. In 2010, his meaningless drive in monza and singapore earned him retirement in both occasions, and lose the title in the end.

        Stop finding excuse, he got the car most of the time but failed to do it.

      16. Stacy says:

        and since when Lewis had the car not to his liking when the whole car was built around him while kimi had to adapt to new team, new car, new tyre and everything else????

      17. Kay says:

        Re: to both,

        As if others don’t make mistakes?

        2010 if Vettel didn’t take out Webber in Turkey or slam into Button in Spa, maybe he would also have had won sooner? Or perhaps as you say, not good enough despite eventually winning it by a small margin?

        2012 if Alonso didn’t take himself out at Suzuka he’d have won too, but we all know how team bosses up and down the grid rate him despite the hatred.

        Things happen over the course of the season, failures, bad luck, driver error, but you can’t deny the drivers’ qualities.

      18. Stacy says:

        @Kay wow, i thought lewis is the greatest driver with greatest talent that cant compare to others?? Funny how you brough “others” into the likes of Lewis??

      19. jawsf1 says:

        although the what if’s work in numerous ways and of course if reliability had been on his side 2010 would have been very one sided for vettel its worth remembering…

        despite errors in monza and singapore(debatable) if lewis’s wheel rim hadn’t failed and caused a blow out in spain two laps from the end he would have been champion!

      20. KRB says:

        Carlos_Carrera, “so many driver errors” in 2007? Aside from the gravel pit in China, and his off at the Nurburgring, what major errors did he make? The first was b/c of shorn rubber, the second b/c of weather conditions that caught out a host of others. He made no more errors that season than Alonso (Fuji anyone?).

        As for 2010, he could’ve won, I agree. But really he should not have been in the fight. Red Bull did all they could to fritter away that title. Plus luck didn’t smile on Hamilton with that wheel rim failure in Spain, running 2nd with 2 laps to go. With that he wins the DWC. But he didn’t help himself pushing too hard with moves at Monza and Singapore. 12 pts was likely the bare minimum haul at either race, which again would’ve netted him the DWC. So while I agree he could’ve won in 2010, it would’ve represented another title won without the fastest car (alongside 2008). A lot to ask, no?

      21. Kay says:

        @Stacy maybe it’s not F1 you watched for the past few seasons? There were 4-5 drivers battling out the WDC with Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton generally regarded as the best of the current generation with Button and Webber not far behind these three. So why shouldn’t they be brought in?

      22. Chris says:

        Agreed his style is all or nothing but 2012 he made zero mistakes on the track.

      23. Carlo_Carrera says:

        His driving in 2012 was greatly improved but I would consider his run in with Maldonado a mistake he could have avoided.

        I also think if the 2014 Mercedes is a good car Hamilton will win the WDC.

      24. Jamie says:

        Carlo so your telling me defending a points position is a mistake? Yes the accident could have been avoided but who wants to see a driver give up and accept defeat? Besides Maldonado could and should have bided his time and got the job done else where!

      25. Elie says:

        Carlo – it’ was Pastors mistake to avoid- Not Lewis! You cannot assume people will drive into you!

      26. KRB says:

        Carlos_Carrera, that was all Pastor’s fault, and it hurt Pastor in that race (lost a podium, as he would’ve passed LH later that lap or on the final lap). Wheras Kimi, who knows how to race, backed off and then passed Lewis later on, Maldonado inexplicably just barreled into the side of Lewis, from off the track!

        I get the feeling that if I checked the posts on here from the Belgian GP, that I’d find one from you blaming Lewis for the first lap chaos there.

      27. Bodhi says:

        Because 2007 was his rookie season and he made Alonso look daft, only losing the title by a point, and in 2010 the car was a dog, and up against a Red Bull that was so fast, their drivers could smash each other off the track and take points off each other all year long and still win in the end.

        In 2012, Lewis added some much needed maturity, and along with Alonso, is the best driver in the sport. They’re the only two drivers who can consistently extract more than the car can give, taking it beyond the limit. I’m yet to see Webber, Button, Vettel, Raikonnen, or anybody else do the same in a car not to their liking, or which was fundamentally bad relative to the field.

        Do you even watch Formula 1?

      28. Carlo_Carrera says:

        You comments are absurd. The McLaren in 2007 and 2010 was plenty fast enough to win Lewis the WDC. He was not a good enough driver to do it. He made mistakes and it cost him the championship.

      29. Irish con says:

        Robert kubica I’d add the the list. Monaco in 2010 being a perfect example. Fernando always said Robert was the best when he was in the sport but never had the fastest car for a season. Big miss to f1.

      30. Rene says:

        Raikonnen won a race in the worst dog of a ferrari ever in 2009… the sister car was circling round dead last in some races!

      31. Mingojo says:

        I think everyone was surprisedby Lewis in 2007, even Alonso. However, I also think Mclaren decided to support Lewis instead of Fernando. I think both of them are the top dogs in Formula 1, but Vettel is driving the best car. Although I liked Lewis, I think Alonso is more complete as a driver. Saying that I like how much respect they profess to each other these days.

      32. Stacy says:

        Kimi had power steering issues all the time. His team losing out on development battle since hungary but Kimi still managed to win a race and a podium followed by 3rd place finished.

        perhaps you need to look further into the season

      33. Elie says:

        Bodhi- you obviously don’t have a clue cause Kimi Raikkonen was a genuine title contender in only the 4 th best car in only his first year back. He is every bit as god as Fernando and Lewis.

      34. Bodhi says:

        Carlo – I guess you are right, having not won the WDC in his debut season, he’s clearly talentless, and should go back to GP2 with Grosjean. Don’t be ridiculous.

        Irish Con – Agreed. Kubica is a great driver who can go beyond his cars limits, I only didn’t mention him as he’s currently not in it. A great shame that we likely wont see him again.

        Rene – He won one race in a dog of a car did he? Give him a medal. Lets see him win races consistently with a poor car, without it being handed to him after retirements, or a wet race. Do you honestly believe he could do what Alonso did this year?

        Mingojo – I agree that Alonso is the best all round. He actually described himself as “not a 10 in anything, but a 9.5 in all aspects”. Pretty spot on I’d say. Lewis has the most raw pace but lacks the experience and the mentality to play mind games and not get emotional, unlike Fernando.

        Stacy – Kimi has power steering issues because he cannot drive a car that isn’t exactly as he wants it. Like Jenson “no grip” Button. How much variance do you think is in the power steering system of an F1 car? Not much I’d bet. Your point only reinforces mine, that the only two drivers in F1 that can extract the maximum from a poor car, or a car that is not 100% as they like it, are Lewis and Fernando. (As quick as Kimi is, and as much as I like his demeanour and no nonsense attitude)

        Elie – No, he wasn’t. Nobody wins a title without winning races, at least not deservedly. He only had one victory handed to him when Lewis retired. The rest of the season he was overly cautious, which is understandable for a first season back.

        That Lotus was capable of far more than one victory, and had Kimi not bottled it when presented with an opportunity to go up the inside of Vettel early in the season, maybe they would’ve had some impetus for the rest of the year. Then, maybe, he would’ve been a contender.

        If Jenson had an operating window bigger than a letterbox, and had Lewis not retired from the lead several times with mechanical problems, had McLaren not had massive finger trouble at pitstops, and tactical errors aplenty, had Webber been able to finally get his head around the exhaust blowing system of the Red Bull that Vettel exploits so well, then Kimi would’ve been pushed down the order. You should read James article on the importance of statistics.

        Kimi as good as Lewis and Fernando? No. But better than Button and Webber. As good as Vettel I’d say.

      35. Spinodontosaurus says:

        I agree with pretty much everything you wrote Bodhi (in the second comment), except I would rate Vettel above the 2012 Kimi no question.

      36. Stacy says:

        Bodhi – Kimi cant drive around his problem?? HE FINISHED THE SEASON 3RD WITH THAT UNSORTED POWER STEERING!!!!

        Mc Hamilton and Mr Alonso had the team built the car around him, kimi had to readapt to new team. new car, new tyre. And you claim Kimi cant drive a car that’s not to his liking?? Hypocrisy at its max

      37. Bodhi says:

        Spinodontosaurus – To clarify, I think Kimi is a more rounded driver than Vettel, but yes Vettel was better than him in 2012. Its hard to judge Kimi though sometimes, as he can often appear unmotivated. I think their roughly at the same level all things considered, if you could put them in the same car, in the same conditions.

        Stacy – Firstly turn your caps lock off, this isn’t YouTube. Secondly, as I’ve already said, but will reiterate for your benefit… consider how quick that Lotus was, and how miniscule a change in the steering he was likely complaining about, and how McLaren unwittingly sabotaged both their drivers championships with their problems. Suddenly, 5th place, or 6th is Webber upped his game (and did’nt have as many KERS/mechanical problems) isn’t so impressive, and exactly what he should’ve achieved given the pace of the car.

        Theres no adapting to to the Lotus team, their one of the most down to earth relaxed teams on the grid, their practically made for Kimi. So no its not “hypocrisy at its max” as you so eloquently put it, its looking at the season as a whole, rather than cherry picking the numbers from the final standings page.

        I bet you think Vettel is less than half the driver Schumacher is, or 50% better than Alonso, or. Do you think Kimi is only as good as Button too? They both only have one WDC.

      38. Bodhi says:

        This is the last I’m going to say on it because I can tell your love for Kimi is undying and no form of criticism will be tolerated.

        Kimi is a brilliant driver, but he’s not the best and not among the best, ask anybody in F1, hell, ask James!

        He’s retained an excellent level despite being out, he’s incredibly quick over a single lap (and I say that despite him being nowhere in quali this year – and Im sure you’ll say “but Bodhi, he was X in Y, you moron!” but I dont care about a single race, or even two. I care about how he drove over the season.

        If you ask anybody in F1 about Lotus’ season, they will say they got the car right, but that it was a season of missed opportunities. Maybe Kimi is rusty, maybe without two years out he would’ve driven that car to more wins than it achieved, but I can tell you who would’ve definitely driven that car to many wins, Alonso or Hamilton.

        The problem with Kimi is you can never tell whether he’s having an off day, or if he is just not quick. We know for certain Button isnt a top driver, as we hear him moaning all day long on the radio, but I wouldn’t be so harsh as to rank Kini alongside him. Next year I’m sure he will do even better, and win several races, possibly challenge for the title, but for me that wouldn’t put him in the upper echelons of our drivers, simply because he is too unpredictable, you often do not know what Kimi you are going to get, maybe he cant handle pressure, and thats why he found himself shoved out of Ferrari, and in a second tier team.

      39. Elie says:

        Btw Bodhi,- Kimi beat both Fernando and Lewis in 2007 in a not so good Ferrari. Guess what he’s going to do in 2013.. Im not saying he’s the best but he is as good as both of them over a race weekend. Lewis is quicker than anyone over a single lap- like Kimi once was in 2003-2006 If Kimi finds that ballistic single lap pace again – he will be hard to beat in any top 3 car in 2012 the lotus E20 was just a wisker off being just that- Im very much hoping the E21 will be at least no3 car.

      40. Spinodontosaurus says:

        He can’t drive around problems as good as Alonso for example, no.
        He was slow this season, often slower than Grosjean, and way to cautious.
        His Ferrari years are a perfect example of this. 3 cars not to his liking and 3 cars he was poor in. Granted he still won the WDC in 2007, but I do consider that more of a loss by Mclaren than a win by Kimi (though it certainly went towards making up for his mis-fortune in 2003 and 2005).
        Alonso had to adapt to a new team, a new car and new tyres just like Kimi in 2007 but arguably performed better (unless you belive the F2007 was the slower car, which I think Massa showed it clearly was not). He did the same in 2010.

        This is not to belittle Kimi; I rate Vettel far higher than the majority on this site yet concede he too is not as good at adapting as Alonso or Hamilton, yet just like Kimi is absolutely rapid when on form.

      41. Bradley says:

        In 2007 Alonso and Hamilton finished equal on points. I’m not sure why this makes Alonso ‘daft’ or inferior. Anyone who isn’t a heavily biased fan would say that puts their performances – averaged over the season – as pretty equal.

      42. KRB says:

        Elie, you’re having a laugh, surely!

        “Kimi beat both Fernando and Lewis in 2007 in a not so good Ferrari.”

        Not so good Ferrari? Yeah, right!

        Fastest laps: 12/17 (six each for Kimi/Massa)
        Wins: 9/17 (six for Kimi; 3 for Massa)
        Poles: 9/17 (six for Massa; 3 for Kimi)

        The Ferrari and the McLaren that year were the equal top car, trading track-specific superiority thru the year (e.g. McLaren best at Monaco; Ferrari best in Brazil, etc.).

        McLaren led for 524 laps (HAM 321, ALO 203) in 2007; Ferrari led for 512 (MAS 300, RAI 212) laps … the next nearest driver was Kovalainen with NINE LAPS!!!

        How anyone who watched that season could put ‘Ferrari’ and ‘not so good’ anywhere near each other, either wasn’t watching or has other agenda’s.

        Elie, spin backfires horribly when facts are stretched far beyond reasonable limits.

      43. Elie says:

        KRB – ok so the Mclaren and Ferrari were about equal- he still beat them both did he not. I think the driver has alot to do with how good the car too.

      44. clyde says:

        Quite daft

      45. Malcolm says:

        In 2007 at the Chinese GP, those geniuses back at Woking and the pitwall, had just listened to Bridgestone’s director of motorsport Hirohide Hamashima who strongly advised the pitwall, to bring in Hamilton 5 laps earlier…… Lewis would have won in his rookie year the 2007 WDC.

      46. Stacy says:

        Kimi was on much worn out state intermediate tyre. However, he keep clocking competitive lap time, while lewis failed.

        Its easy to blame the team when the driver failed the strategy. Greatest driver should be able to do what a average driver like Kimi could do.

      47. KRB says:

        Stacy, what are you talking about? Kimi’s tires were NOT worse than Hamilton’s at that time. But Malcolm makes the basic point that McLaren should have played it safe, as he was guaranteed 4-5 pts in that race, which would’ve eliminated Kimi from the DWC race. That would’ve set up an in-house battle in Brazil, with Alonso needing to win at a track that favored the Ferrari’s.

      48. KRB says:

        http://bit.ly/kb5Zy

        A good summation of the race. Their tires were both from the start, no one switching tires at their first stops.

    2. MC says:

      Vettel certainly won’t be moved, but look for Marko to whine in the near future during an interview with Red Bull’s in-house mag.

    3. Gudien says:

      More of the ‘politics and mind games’ from the master, Fernando Alonso. I’d be more interested to hear what Vettel thinks of Alonso to get an honest opinion.

      1. Anne says:

        We know what Vettel thinks. All we have to do is read what Helmult Marko has said.Marko is not only speaking his mind. He has become the spokeman for Vettel. If you need more evidence well, Marko doesn´t have a good opinion about Webber either.

      2. Harsha says:

        I don’t think so
        Can you show me a Proof that Marko is talking for Vettel??
        The Comments made about Fernando was marko personal Statements. Vettel always says he respects Fernando. If Marko didn’t like Fernando that doesn’t mean Vettel doesn’t respect him.

    4. michael says:

      Kimi Raikkonen is still the fastest driver in the sport, and has won every year he has been in the sport since 2007 as well. If Lotus give him a preferable steering setup, he will drop the field. Alonso needs to justify his performance in 2007, and that is why he dishes out these compliments.

      1. Anne says:

        I wouldn´t use the word “justify”. I think he regrets things he did or didn´t do back in 2007. Kimi left F1 for 2 years. He recently joined the party hosted by Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton.

      2. KRB says:

        Umm, Grosjean beat Kimi 10-9 in qualifying this past season. Certainly words should mean something when they’re used. If “fastest” is to mean the fastest, then Kimi can’t qualify. On the other hand beating your teammate 17-3 in qualifying, scoring the most poles (even with one stripped away), and being the only driver on the grid to feature in every Q3 of the season does point to one being the fastest.

        Plus Brundle’s already decreed it. :-)

      3. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Let’s see if I understand.
        Alonso has to justify his perfomance in 2007 when he lost the WDC by one point due to his team and FIA going against him, but Kimi can be proud of his years? Years like 2008 and 2009? Really? The man was outperformed by the same driver Alonso is absolutely destroying…

      4. clyde says:

        merely steering setup does not maketh a fine car:-)

  2. Anil says:

    Lewis is the type of driver that can get the most out of even a poor car, as seen in 2009. When the car is exactly how he wants it to be however, Seb is incredibly fast, maybe even faster.

    I wonder where he sees Kimi in all of this? Where do you rank Kimi James, alongside Alonso-Lewis-Seb or just below alongside the likes of Webber and Button?

    1. Casey says:

      Not really, in 2009 Lewis was very poor in the 1st half. When the team massively revamp the car for 2nd half to be top runner, only then he won 2 races with it.

      Since hungary 2009 until last races, lewis only scored 1 more points than Kimi in a F60 that the team already given up on since germany.

      Its really strike me how underrated Kimi could be.

      1. Steven says:

        Exactly, he car was crap in the first half, it wasnt Lewis’s performance that was bad. He helped develop that car into a race winner, and then he used it to win.

      2. Stacy says:

        yea, lewis has mechanical engineering degree perhaps..lmao

      3. Steven says:

        Stop being a smart***. Drivers help the engineers develop the cars by telling them how the car feels, pushing/loose, and it what conditions. Drivers dont JUST driver the cars, they have input.

      4. Stacy says:

        and we know how great lewis was in that department In Spa. When his feedback on using the old rear wing was a wrong choices. It showed that Lewis is not accurate enough on his senses.!!

      5. Steven says:

        I thought we were talking about 2009.. Then lets point out how Button took them down the wrong path and remember the debacle that was Canada where he coudnt get the tires to work and was lapped by his teammate(ding ding ding Hamilton), or better yet, how he was stuck behind Kovalainen in Monaco, or how Lewis finished ahead of Jenson in Spain after being demoted to last.

      6. KRB says:

        He was “very poor” in the first half of 2009?! I seem to recall in the first race that he finished a provisional 3rd! He also scored a 4th in the 4th race (Bahrain). Now THAT car was an absolute dog at the start of the season, the worst-ever car Lewis had at McLaren. It was FAR worse, relative to others, than the Ferrari was at the start of this past season.

        And whereas the Ferrari this year became ‘decent’ by the 5th race in Spain (in a 20-race season), the McLaren MP4-24 only became ‘decent’ by the 9th race in Germany (in a 17-race season).

        After that, Hamilton scored 2 wins and 5 podiums, ending up with one less podium than Rubens got in the Brawn. McLaren again blew a pit-stop for him in Valencia, costing him the win there.

        He also scored 4 poles (T-1st with BUT and VET).

        By contrast, Heikki scored no wins, podiums or poles.

    2. mani says:

      Anyone who rank Kimi alongside Webber is insane. Kimi finished 3rd in a lotus where is webber in a red bull ?? where is button in a mclaren?? where is lewis in a mclaren too??

      1. Anil says:

        Yeah i agree, I’m just wondering where he sits relative to the top 3. He was incredible last season.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Exactly, Raikkonen finished 3rd in the Lotus, which was a very quick and consitent car. If a rusty Kimi struggling with streeing issues the whole season can get 3rd in the championship with that car, it was clearly a good car.

        I am not a massive fan of all the ‘iffs and buts’, but if Raikkonen had drove as good as he did in his Mclaren years in that Lotus, I strongly suspect the champonship fight would have been a true 3-way fight.

      3. Andrew says:

        Where is (was) Lewis in the Mclaren? Probably breaking down from the lead of the race or waiting an absurdly long time in the pits for his tyres to be changed or being crashed into by a rookie.

        Remind me how many times Raikkonen’s car broke down?

        Looking only at the points table to draw conclusions about a drivers ability is beyond ridiculous.

      4. Stacy says:

        “Looking only at the points table to draw conclusions about a drivers ability is beyond ridiculous.”

        speaking of which.

        Kimi had antiroll bar failure in Spa and Suzuka. He brought home 6th and 3rd still.

        Kers failure in silverstone, hungary, Spa, suzuka

        Hydraulic failure in Canada.

        And bunch of strategist whom had no idea what it means to be undercut or the right tyre to pit their driver. (james mentioned a few time)

        Yea, Dig deep, and dont just look at the oover.

      5. Mani says:

        Lewis failed to finish 3 times i think. Where was he then in the 17 races in the best car of the season???

      6. Gastronaut says:

        Points remain, lotus has failed to pick up their sleeve due to excessive focus on the failed passive DRS. They are not rich like Mclaren you know. Consider that and mclaren reliability on equal footing.

        Kimi finished 3rd is remarkable!! and his reflex in wheel to wheel racing prevent him from getting into useless fight.

      7. Andrew says:

        I suggest you all read James’ analysis of Hamiltons season as your memories seemed to have failed you

        http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/11/analysis-how-the-points-and-the-title-slipped-away-for-lewis-hamilton/

        to sumarise Hamilton lost an estimated 110 points to events totally out of his control (and this doesn’t include being crashed into by Hulkenberg in Brazil and rear suspension problems in Japan).

        To suggest that Hamilton had the best car and didn’t capitalise on it is simply not true. The Mclaren was a good qualifying car but it’s race pace was often very average. People seem to overlook the fact that Lotus, Ferrari and even Sauber were often the quickest cars in the race. Red Bull managed to get the perfect balance of race and qualifying performance.

      8. KRB says:

        Mani, Lewis didn’t finish in Val, Ger, Bel, Sin, Abu, and Bra. Kimi’s car finished EVERY race. Can’t give up six finishes and hope to be ahead of any decent car.

        Plus the McLaren was not always fast. It lacked race pace in Bahrain, Valencia, and Britain. In Britain it was particularly poor, so much so that Horner chuckled that “the chrome cars were not a factor today” in post-race interviews.

  3. Munn says:

    Wasn’t Trulli beat him in 2004 and was kicked out from the team with 3 races remaining??

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      They were equal the first half of the year but after France Trulli dropped off a cliff and then fell out with Briatore, which guaranteed his exit.

      1. mani says:

        well, but Trulli outqualifying him and even won a race with 2 poles………

      2. Rich B says:

        trulli was a qually specialist, at his prime nobody was faster than him over 1 lap

      3. Mingojo says:

        Well, some time to time someone can outqualified other driver in a race. Fisichella did also a few times. Is Trulli or Fisichella better than Alonso? Mmm, no really

      4. Stacy says:

        @Rich B Only alonso.

        @Mingojo Well, if you check the stat, Trulli did it most of the time against alonso. If Flavio nvr kick trulli out from the team, jarno might pressurrize Alonso more on 05 and 06, the title years.

    2. newton says:

      No. Alonso had a few retirements in the first half allowing Trulli to get ahead, but Trulli didn’t score in the 2nd half (he went to Toyota for the last 2 races).
      Alonso finished ahead in 7 of the races where they both finished (4 for Trulli), and finished ahead on points.

      1. newton says:

        *7 of the 10 races where they both finished*

        Trulli missed the Chinese GP before going to Toyota for the last 2.

      2. Stacy says:

        Trulli had a big fight with Flavio and claim that his car was changed or not tweak to his liking. Hence the breakdown and results in trulli leaving the team for beating flavio ‘s golden boy.

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Irrespective of point finishes, which also included Trulli winning at Monaco, during an unbelievable run by Ferrari and Schumacher, he regularly out-qualified Alonso.
      What was most obvious come the races was that one Renault seemed to go backwards, the other forwards.

  4. John Stuart says:

    “This year Alonso sees no reason why the new car, developed in the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne by a strengthened aero team,” oh the irony, considering that Toyota, or one of their employees were accused of stealing Ferrari technical data a few years ago.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Yes the irony of that point was not lost on me either!

    2. Doobs says:

      The Tojo boys stole Renault data.

    3. JF says:

      It was Mclaren that stole Ferrari data.

  5. Gunner says:

    Typical Alonso.

    No matter how he spins it, ultimately his aim is to compliment himself. “Vettel only beat me because of the car”, “Lewis is the best, and I beat him”.

    It’s getting boring now.

    1. A-P says:

      Perhaps Alonso does compliment himself, but he is in good company. Remember: 8 out of the 12 F1 Team Principals also paid Alonso the compliment of rating him as the best driver of 2012, and none of them rated him lower than third.

      Of course, after the ceremonies are over, a driver is only as good as their next race, but to be top-rated over the previous season is not a bad place to start a year from…

    2. Kay says:

      Maybe Vettel can prove otherwise?

    3. MookF1 says:

      Spot on!!

      All the comments the drivers make are highly calculated or in Vettels case, Markos and Bernies comments are highly calculated. The setup of the sport means that drivers cannot survive on talent alone they have to ensure that the fans subjective values of their performances are maintained. This means that they brand themselves and repeat the same tripe over and over again to convince the audience.

      Alonso does it with his Ferrari was a dog of a car I cannot believe what I got out of it statements and his driver comparisons.

      Hamiliton does it with his “that was my best race and performance ever I couldn’t of got anymore out of the car” after every race he does well in.

      Button does it with his references to “strategy will play an important role and you’ll need to think tommorow and we (read me) are strong in that area” statements

      Vettel does it…..well no he doesn’t it’s that clown Marko with he’s so cool and calculated (next schumacher maybe) analysis

      Exceptions would maybe be Webber and Kimi and thats possibly why they find themselves in the positions they are in, one a number 2 driver and the other a lot would argue should be in a top 3 team

      I think to be honest driver comparisons are so subjective and more to do with brand positioning, as drivers are almost incommensurable. This would be in terms of individual skill, style and talent. The only logical way of rating them against their contemporaries is by looking at how they fit and use the team they are in. Surely this though gets more to the heart of the matter, F1 is a team sport and is it not more useful to compare one team against another in terms of the whole package rather than driver v driver?

    4. Doobs says:

      He’s just answering questions from the media at a media event. Don’t lose sleep.

      1. JF says:

        Exactly-PR, Blowin wind. Everyone is a champion in January.

        Certainly can’t argue that Ham, Alo, and Vet are the top dogs and I think Raik will be scaring the three of them after last season.

    5. Elie says:

      Your dead right gunna – the guy carries on like impetuous kid and not the champion he is. Maybe he needs more growing up than Lewis.

    6. Lynn says:

      Totally agree with you Gunner!
      Getting boring…

  6. alastair emmerson says:

    I can’t see merc making the same mistakes again, Ross is a very very clever man with an appetite to win, the same goes for Lewis, its a partnership which will thrive. If it wasn’t for lewis’s problems last year he would have walked away with the title.

    1. Dan says:

      I don’t agree with this. He had 3 years to get the team together with MSC, and failed miserably despite a glimmer of hope from the novel front wing DRS. Yes, Hamilton is faster than a post-comeback MSC, but not by much, and I don’t see Merc making any big strides. This might be Lewis’ first winless season. I’m just curious to see how he compares to Nico.

      1. alastair emmerson says:

        Yeh it will be interesting to see how he goes against nico. Yes he had 3 years, but it isn’t that easy to get the guys who he wanted for the team, aero, design etc etc. Also as said by schumi the budget was not that big, its only now that Daimler Benz are actually putting a good bit of money into the team. Of course they will take big strides, why offer hammy 19.5m with out having plans to fight for success

      2. Vandhloms says:

        Dan, I disagree with you. Merc has achieved a lot in the 3 years, especially compared to what Red Bull achieved in their first 3 years. Red Bull only had 2 podium finish in their first 4 years in 07 & 08, while Merc had 3 podiums in their first year. Red Bull first won on their fifth year, while Merc won in it’s third year. Merc has been improving consistently in the 3 years compared to RB in 5 years. IMO Merc is far ahead of most teams in their first seasons and importantly the rate of their improvement has been increasing every season. With LH onboard, they will be winning races this year and more podium finishes.

      3. Dan says:

        I don’t think it’s fair to compare RB and Merc in that context. RB took over from a totally dysfunctional Jaguar team and only really began making progress when they brought on Newey. Merc bought out the previous year’s title winning team and proceeded to win 0 races. Unlike RB, Merc has immense experience at all levels of motorsports including F1 as an engine supplier, which makes their failure so far all the more shocking. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Ross Brawn, but I think the team has fundamental flaws and that makes me sad because it ruined Schumi’s comeback and it’ll stall Lewis’ career until they get it together.

      4. KRB says:

        Red Bull really didn’t get going until the new regulations regime came into being in 2009. Now that they’re essentially the Renault works team, and spend the most of anyone, it’s not hard to see why they’re the current top dogs.

        Merc bought out Brawn, which had just gone thru a major downsizing. Merc was banking on the FIA instituting a budget cap, and so held off on piling the money in until now when it’s become apparent there’s no cap on the horizon.

        I hope Merc are challenging for wins and podiums. It can only be good for F1 if 5+ teams are serious wins/podiums threats. Just need Williams to get in the mix too (with RBR, McL, Fer, Lot, Mer), and we’d have an EPIC season.

      5. Steven says:

        How long did it take MSC to win with a WDC with Ferrari?

      6. hero_was_senna says:

        He won in his fifth year there.

        But MSC is/ was a very different animal to Hamilton. Practically workaholic.
        He also had a huge number of advantages in his corner.
        1) Huge budgets
        2) Bespoke Bridgestone tyres
        3) Unlimited testing
        4) Number 2 drivers

        and maybe most importantly of all,

        5) the competition just wasn’t that good.

        1996 and 1997 was Williams.
        1998 and 1999 was Mclaren.

        Brawn had an amazing car at the start of 2009, which they had been worked on for the whole of 2008. This car included the double diffuser which took the others about 6 races to get on to their cars with varying success. But their development over the season was not as significant as RBR or Mclaren.
        I’d include Ferrari but they stopped development of their car early to concentrate for 2010.

        When MSC rejoined F1 with the newly renamed Brawn team, the competition was RBR, Ferrari, Mclaren and Renault/ Lotus. I’d also suggest that the actual driving talent is far higher than MSC faced during his first career.
        Other than Hakkinen, is there anyone you would imagine as a contemporary of his?

        Throughout 2012 Sauber has looked better at times than Mercedes and lets not forget, Williams also won a race last year, to equal the tally of Mercedes.

        Lewis will bring something to the party, but I do not expect him to be the galvanising effect everyone imagines.

      7. Steven says:

        Exactly! Merc was expected to do it in 3 years with all the new limitations on testing.

      8. Wanja says:

        Dan, I think Merc has a pretty good chance to bust your bubble. They’ve had numerous changes in the last 3 years: From an excellent Honda budget and an early development start that got us the champioship winning BGP001, the team survived and struggled throughout the BrawnGP season, got downsized and they were in the title battle until the end of the season, their next car, the Merc, was based on the lousy Brawn budget. Merc brought new money, the team was restructured over the last years. Last year they changed the 50% wind tunnel to a 60% one, and they replaced Loic Bigois (Aerodynamics) with Mike Elliott from Lotus. That all didn’t help the development of a car. But, since July 2012 these changes are done and will have their effect on this year’s car. The development of the 2013 car began in March 2012, which is quite early, and the last races in 2012 were even used as evaluation runs for 2013 designs (remember the back-to-back changes of the coanda exhaust?). At the start of the season the Mercs looked pretty okay in the last 3 years, expect it to be the same in 2013, but expect no major restructuring this and next year that will stop them from keeping up the pace. Now consider Pirelly announced a wider temperature window for their 2013 spec, which means Mercedes worst problem last year may be tamed. Add to that the smaller margin for improvements, as the rules hardly changed and you can expect to get a pretty dense field. Which means: Mercedes will have every chance in the world to fight for the championship.

        And I’d also suggest you people have an eye on Rosberg, I have the strong feeling that he is among the most underrated drivers in the paddock. he looked good against Webber, he looked good against Schumacher and just in case he will look good against Hamilton, this could force us to re-evaluate the likes of Button and Alonso. Depending how Perez gets along with Button, this can get even more interesting.
        Just imagine for a second that Rosberg beats Hamilton and Perez beats Button – where would that put Alonso, Schumacher (2013) and Kobayashi? Or imagine that Button beats Perez, but Rosberg beats Hamilton – now that would be confusing, wouldn’t it? That would virtually put a lot of drivers on the same level.

      9. Sami says:

        Extremely well-argued, I completely agree. I have no doubt that both Nicos (Rosberg and Hulkenberg) are world championship material.

    2. Doobs says:

      Win or lose, Lewis needs a spell building a team. A couple of seasons ago I would have said he’d start crying as soon as he had a bad result. Except for one or two wobbles and whinges last season, I think he’ll be OK. But Merc really need to get the car halfway competitive or he may lose interest.

    3. KRB says:

      It will be tough for Lewis I think. He’s won every year, yes (won multiple races in each season in fact), and has scored at least one pole in each year (just barely keeping that streak alive in 2011 in Korea).

      China, Monaco, Canada and Monza are likely the best chances for a race win for Lewis with Merc this season.

  7. djmwr says:

    Looking at that picture of Alonso (and of the other pics from this event), do I see the Marlboro logo creeping back into Ferrari’s teamwear?

    1. James Allen says:

      Well they are paying for the event

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        James speaking of money and resources do you think it would be better to have 2 or 3 less races with more testing and if this were to happen which races would face the axe?

      2. James Allen says:

        I know which ones I’d axe!!

        Races make money for F1, testing costs money

      3. Lynn says:

        As a fan, more races please than testing.
        Great point James!

    2. ian says:

      He looks like he is wearing a skirt.

  8. goferet says:

    Actually am thankful for Alonso’s words towards Lewis for this has a knock on effect that whenever Alonso is mentioned by the historians, Lewis name will crop up as being that pilot the best driver of his era respected.

    And yes, I myself agree with Alonso for Lewis is his biggest rival.

    Look, after the 2011 season with Vettel’s 13 pole positions, I wasn’t really sure between Vettel and Lewis on who was faster over one lap.

    However in 2012, when the Red Bull wasn’t working too good, we saw Webber out qualify Vettel quite a number of times and what that told me is Vettel really can’t work a ill handling car

    I guess it’s this observation that lead Martin Brundle to comment in 2012 that Lewis was the fastest driver in the world.

    Now considering the fact that Alonso is pretty confident that he will have a car able to challenge for the championship from the very first race, I would agree with this, however Alonso has to keep in mind the fact that Domencalli hasn’t been able to produce the clear fastest car since he took over in 2008.

    However, it also has to be noted that Domencalli has had a good record of producing cars that go the distance i.e. till the last race e.g. 2008, 2010 and 2012 (all even numbered years by the way)

  9. Casey says:

    It was obviously a talk down on Vet, especially when he mentioned vet had the car to do so. Wasn’t mclaren the fastest car in 2012??? And if Alonso didnt made a mistake in Suzuka, the title would be his.

    In 2nd half of the season, Massa emerge as better of the ferrari pair in term of pace despite not having the new gear right out of the maranello.

    Its nvr Alonso fault isnt it?? Sorry, i just think this guy is too political. And he has the tendency to always talk down his car throughout his career when Massa was driving the almost same car collected 9x points on 2nd half alone. If i remember clearly, he claimed Force India was faster than them….LOL

    1. Dino says:

      Forget mind games, please, Fernando has been praising Lewis for quite a long time by now, he knows him very well, and for one I’m really happy to know that his words will be a huge morale boost for Lewis.

    2. Steven says:

      The fastest car of the season means nothing if your team constantly screws up the pit stops and has poor realiability.

    3. Spyros says:

      Too political?

      Well certainly, but more political than Red Bull and Helmut Marko in particular? Oh please…

      F1 is general is too political. It used to be the case that a statement by a driver or team owner was interesting, by definition. Now it’s a procession of colourful branded suits… as boring as some of the races. Pre-race interviews are carefully orchestrated by team PR staff, to tackle whichever engine-map/floor-hole-that-isn’t-a-hole/fuel-penalty/off-track-overtake/flag-overtake we happen to have that day.

      In winter, we don’t have any real news, so teams do their best to appear interesting. So one team uses its own magazine to say how good its No1 driver is and how bad its No2 driver is (thanks Helmut, appreciated), then turns to say others are political. Then these others return the favour.

      (I suppose it helps if your pointless No2 driver is a good friend of the enemy’s No1 driver)

      As money becomes more important, so do politics. Certainly it seems that the money teams spend on lawyers and PR rivals what they spend on wind-tunnel testing. Eventually I suppose we will resign to the politics and replace races with elections, to decide who wins the championship. It might work, with the right PR… but I suppose it might sell fewer computer games.

      I used to hate Frank Williams, because he was the first man to say openly that F1 is all about business. Now I think he’s the most honest man in F1. No wonder he had to retire, he was embarrassing the others…

  10. Alexyoong says:

    My view is that Alonso is a thinker, and comments like those are made with an agenda- i.e. Vettel mind games. Ham in all likelihood not be challenging for the title this year, whilst Seb will. So whilst he may in any event believe what he is saying, it suits Alonso to make these views clear.

    He is undoubtedly political in some of the comments he makes.

    1. Anne says:

      I disagree. Alonso said it is his personal opinion. It is an opinion not a political statement. He could be right or wrong because it is only an opinion. And everyone else can have their own opinions. Also he didn´t say that Hamilton is going to win the title. Alonso was talking about talent. He believes Hamilton is more talented than Vettel.

      1. Aprillia Climber 280 says:

        Whichever way you want to look at this it is just Mind Games. You can call it Political or Personal Opinion but I think it is just the former, Mind Games and most sportsmen do it to some extent or other.

        Even when I competed in motorcycle trials in the 80s at only Centre level, if you could “wind up” your rivals, you did so, its just how sports people work. Sledging in cricket is exactly the same. Its part of the fun of competition.

        My favorite line, when signing on with the club secretary at the event, was to ask my main 3 rivals at that time “who is coming second today?”

        I even used that line at school in the 100m race and it worked. People either get wound up and therefore cant concentrate or the go to peices over a line like that.

        You have to be at a certain level to get away with it, ie. You have to be “The Best” in the competition or very close to it, because you will look really stupid if you said that when everyone knows, including yourself, that you are a mid field finisher!

        I wish Alonso would say it on Twitter just for a laugh, imagine the kerfuffle if he did?

      2. Anne says:

        Keep in mind that Alonso was Hamilton´s team mate. He has experienced a lot of things with Hamilton. Hamilton was a treat and a big challenge for him in 2007. Maybe he still feels that way. You could said it´s the past Alonso should get over that. Maybe he can´t or maybe he learn something about himself and Hamilton. And that´s why he has that opinion

      3. madra rua says:

        It’s just a shame that the boss of Ferrari thinks that Vettel is the more complete driver than Hamilton; lets see how far Ferrari will praise Alonso if they do not win the WDC this year, it is the make or break year for Alonso and Ferrari

      4. Alexyoong says:

        Both opinion and political comment IMO

      5. Anne says:

        I´m begining to think that if Alonso could go back in time to 2007 he would make a lot of things in a different way. He would have a much better relationship with Hamilton.I feel he regrets the fact he underestimated Hamilton

      6. Alexyoong says:

        From what I heard- and you can take or leave this- Hamilton was more of the problem in 2007, backed all the way by Ron. Outside the British media, and even in some respects within that, Hamilton was seen as more responsible for the fall-out that year than was Alonso.

        His behaviour with Button and some of his public comments and tweets this year are of the same mould.

        Still, from a fan’s perspective, Hamilton is good value on and off the track. Always some saga. And Alonso is right, a genius racer.

        Reality is, those top three are all pretty close pegging. If had to pick a winner, you might pick Alonso as the most complete package.

    2. alastair emmerson says:

      In spite of your comments, I hope Lewis does compete for the title this year, there is no reason to think why he can’t, just because merc have had 3 bad years. Well this year merc have upgraded their wind tunnel, their aero team and their design team, so basically they are starting fresh again this year.

      1. aezy_doc says:

        This makes me wonder if they will be competitive at the start of the season… hopefully, though, they will close the gap quickly.

    3. Lynn says:

      Which is unfortunate, as the best driver he doesn’t need to be political.

    4. Wanja says:

      If that is mind games, what was Piquet Sr. doing? Nuclear warfare?

      1. JohnBt says:

        Lol! I agree.

  11. goferet says:

    But Hamilton has won only one world title during Alonso’s career, while Sebastian Vettel has won three, more than the Spaniard himself
    ————————————————-

    But in this sport of ours, titles aren’t everything.

    Am always reminded of high profile drivers from the past that didn’t win any title and yet their names are up there with the best e.g. Gilles, Moss and Montoya.

    So yeah, stats can be rather deceptive in sport especially motor racing.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      I agree with your point broadly, but I have to ask a favour, please don’t put Montoya’s name in the same sentence as Gilles Villeneuve or Stirling Moss. In fact, maybe to be safe make sure those names don’t mix even in the same paragraph.

      1. Dino says:

        LOL I was thinking the same!

        We will never know for sure who is the most talented driver out there, but for us spectators perception has sometimes a stronger value that results, then I would say that no one is more talented than Lewis. Alonso would be quite close but by far the most smart of the two. Vettel still is an enigma for me, even with his 3 WDC.

        Regarding Montoya, he was one of the most talented guys I’ve ever seen behind a wheel, but to compare him with Moss or Gilles is a little bit too much, they had way more brain, charisma and values than JPM.

      2. Dave Aston says:

        What do you know about Montoya’s values?

      3. Dino says:

        Dear Mr. Dave Aston,

        I was part of the F1 paddock between 2001 and 2007 and was so painful see Juan Pablo being disrespecteful in may occasions with the fans. But is only my opinion and if you think otherwise, it is fair for me.

      4. unF1nnished business says:

        Agreed, while I respect that Montoya was an exciting driver, I wouldn’t put him in that group.

      5. aezy_doc says:

        You just did it!

      6. Scuderia McLaren says:

        (SM Slaps himself on the hand)

      7. Elie says:

        Lol same on Montoya !

      8. JF says:

        Montoya was a fast agressive driver. Much like Hamilton in his approach. I think Hamilton is a bit better but Montoya took it to Ferrari. He was underated.

      9. James Allen says:

        Interesting comparison. I think you can draw a line from Mansell, through Montoya to Hamilton. They provide a similar dynamic to the racing cast list

      10. KRB says:

        I wouldn’t include Montoya in the same group as Mansell and Hamilton. I’m Canadian, and loved watching JV ruffle MSC’s feathers in ’96 and ’97. But I wouldn’t include JV (a fast aggressive driver) in with Hamilton or Mansell. JV and Montoya are a good comparison. Both have had very little success in NASCAR after their F1 days.

      11. KRB says:

        Agreed. Montoya was fast, but not special by any stretch like the other two were.

    2. Steven says:

      This is for James. Hamilton has won only one WDC during Alonso’s career, but Alonos has won zero WDC during Lewis’s career

      1. Martin says:

        That’s as useful without context as saying Alonso beat Hamilton in each of the last three championships despite in each season having the slower car. It is 3-3 in their championship head-to-heads. In five of them Lewis had the better car across the season. That all says little about how well they drove. Possbily intended in your comment is that Vettel has won three times and yet many regard him as third of the top three.

      2. Steven says:

        My coment was in the context of the article.
        James said “But Hamilton has won only one world title during Alonso’s career, while Sebastian Vettel has won three, more than the Spaniard himself”. I wasnt thinking about Vettel at all.

        If you’re going to point out who had the better car when then you have to point out that vettel had the better car each of the seasons in which he won, except for maybe 2012, but then you have to add all the operational and reliability problems that McLaren had in 2010.

  12. Peter says:

    For me its strange that most people talk about the big three as Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton. However very few people mention Kimi in this context any more. I think in 2012 Kimi actually did a fantastic job and he must be one of the fastest and best driver out there, surely as good as any of these three in my opinion. Hamilton is very good, yes, but also McLaren have been the car that can win races every year (also with Button), it was not the best car for the whole year, but the best periodically. Kimi was in contention for the WCh with a Lotus against Alonso and Vettel until the last races in a car/team he has never raced before, on tires he has never driven on. Hope he will get a very good car for 2013 to prove, he is still fast as any other top driver.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      +1

      I will be putting a tenner on Raikkonen for WDC. I know it’s an outside bet, but I think the planets may align for the FIN and Enstone

    2. mani says:

      Kimi is the most underrated driver.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Disagree.
        Many people were raving about his return as soon as rumours started about him joining Williams.

    3. Anne says:

      I think I could agree with you.But I´d like to see more from Kimi before saying for sure he is one of the great right now.

      1. mani says:

        more?? like how he fight for title with schumacher in 2003 with a 2002 spec car ended up 2 points behind?? because the team failed to deliver the new chassis due to over agressive design??

      2. Anne says:

        So? He won the WDC in 2007 and then we didn´t see much from him. Then he moved to rally. He didn´t do anything all that great there. Now he is back. He had a great season but, will he have more great seasons and more WDC? We don´t know. When I say I need to see more I mean he has had many ups and downs.

      3. Stacy says:

        forgot 2009??

        nobody score more point than kimi except lewis by 1 point since Hungary when vet,but,ruben,webber, heikki and lewis all had better car without halting in car development to the end of the season. The team stop develop the car when massa was injured. Kimi went on and finished with 1 win and 5 podiums.

        Edd Straw mentioned the engineer ask kimi why didnt he told them earlier about the changes on the car, Kimi replied ” i did, but only once”.

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        Yes a well developed 2002 car, chassis 17D, which was reliable and consistent against a Ferrari that had been designed for a set of regulations that didn’t include qualifying with race fuel abroad. Something that hampered the team.
        Also, the points system had been changed from 10, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1 to let the top 8 score points.
        10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
        Thereby it was harder for a race victory to close the gap to the lead driver.

        Kimi had 10 podiums that year against MSC 8.

      5. Stacy says:

        @Hero_was_senna Doesnt change the fact it was an old car, old technologies, old tools. If the chassis was so good, why mclaren was rushing to debut mp4-18 only to fail terribly?? Where was his teammate then?? I remember the FIA helps ferrari by forcing the tyre reg change half way through the season. It was an unjustice season by FIA.

      6. Liam says:

        Seriously? Kimi would have multiple WDC’s by now if the Newey McLarens had been reliable.

      7. Anne says:

        I´m afraid we will never know what could have been.

      8. Nick H says:

        @ Anne.

        Raikkonen would have walked the 2005 season if his M-Benz engine didn’t explode every other race. He must have set a record for grid penalties as a result of changing engines, Alonso’s Renault was extremely reliable. So yes, I think we can safely say we do know what could have been

      9. Kay says:

        Don’t think Kimi gives a damn what people thinks of him lol.. he’s just there to enjoy the Sunday drive! :D

      10. Anne says:

        Agree. That´s Kimi.He doesn´t want to be bother with anything from Monday to Saturday. LOL!!!!

      11. Simmo says:

        Yes. One season in one car is not enough for me to judge.

    4. unF1nnished business says:

      I don’t think Kimi really cares whether he’s underrated from the outside. So long as his team understands him everyone else can “underestimate him at their own peril”.

    5. Elie says:

      Agree whole heartedly Peter. Kimis performance this year was very, very little off Fernando and Lewis who have been racing these spec cars and rules alot longer than Kimi.

      It is without any doubt I say Kimi for all his success is still the most under rated driver I have ever seen. But this is the nature of true greats .2012 alot of people said he was no chance- those same people were mesmerised by his driving and congratulated Lotus and Lopez for his signing- then two months after season end their opinion is more moderate-. I mean seriously even the greats like Lauda were surprised by his performance because no-one they knew ever came back so strong. I had no doubt about his ability prior retiring and I had no doubt when he said he was confident to return and he definitely will be a strong chance with a top 3 car/ pit stops in 2013.

      Too many people listen to the big mouths and chest beaters whereas Raikkonen does his talking in track !

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Interesting that you quote Lauda, a driver who withdrew midway during the 1979 season and was enticed back for 1982.
        Legend has it to pay for his airline bills.

        He won the 3rd race in his comeback and won again in the British GP.
        A tragic season that saw 2 fatalities on track and a career ended in Germany, the World Champion was a single race winner.

        I don’t care much for Kimi, I find him too passionless, but that’s my beef.
        What I find no-one commenting on though is the fact that Grosjean made him look slow in qualifying. Essentially a rookie.

        Also, almost forgotten, is the fact that Enstone produced a great car from day 1, after a very poor 2011. But there were many professional who felt Lotus would have won a lot more if an Alonso or Lewis had been in the car.

      2. Anne says:

        I can comment about Grosjean. I don´t care if he wins the pole in every single race if he is going to end up crashing against somebody else´s car.That was what Grosjean did in many races last season. He even got banned for one race after the Spa accident. As far as Lotus, they had a very good car but at the same time they spent a lot of time, money and work in a DDRS that never worked. You can´t blame Raikkonen for that.

      3. Stacy says:

        Great car?? you mean the car with on and off pace and terrible qualifying pace?? We saw many times, the car only quick on race when the track was extremely hot. Suffer terribly when it was cool.

        I thought great car should have many things like Pole position, best race pace in all condition etc?? Reminds me of mclaren and rbr.

        Alonso only win with luck that his car was the best on wet track. While the car suffer terribly on qualifying, it got the race pace to get the job done. 2 wet qualifying gps helped him to achieve that.

        Alot of expert?? what kind of expert?? Gosh, mclaren should win every races for being so great, so did rbr. But everyone forgot circumstances often work against them. Hindsight is a wonderful things.

      4. Candice says:

        actually kimi outqualify romain overall. They nvr account on Malaysia gp when kimi had gearbox change. As usual, the media like to ignore the details of kimi ‘s gp.

        He had power steering issues, something that lotus didnt had enough resources to sort it out. Well, he get over it and finished 3rd in the end.

        Grosjean also receive new update first while kimi had to wait from valencia to hockenheim. Benefit of having TP as your manager huh?? Kimi often sacrifise his FPs to test new development while Romain had all the free time to setup his car. (hockenheim, hungary, kimi test the passive drs which turn out to be failure)

        So, with a no.2 status, kimi emerge as no.1 in the end by results alone =)

      5. Elie says:

        Thanks for the history but I hope that’s where the comparison ends.

        Clearly ( in my eyes at least)- A guy that comes back and gets 7 podiums is very passionate. He is not passionate about anything else other than racing & making the car go fast on the track and you can’t hate the guy for that. He definitely has some kind of shyness that makes him say the same things on the podium sometimes and that is really annoying ( Abu Dhabi )& I think he does not mean because he is happier off camera.

        As for qualifying they finished the season 10/10 and Kimi decimated Grosjean on track ( which you would expect).
        What people -yourself included -very much fail to see is that Kimi learned the workings of the Pirelli tyres much better than most drivers and obviously he did not destroy them in quali so that he was stronger than most on Sunday- including Grosjean. ( Suzuka was possibly the only exception) . Kimi was very strong at balancing quali pace with race pace by mid season ( Hungary comes to mind). When you look at the front runners Lewis qualified 1 and ended 4. Seb was 2nd ended 1st. Fernando was probably at least 4th and ended 2nd. If you go down the field you would see a very similar pattern.

        People also keep rabbiting on about the car but the epic battle with MS at Spa really summed up the cars capabilities because he was at or beyond the limits through corners and still was caught in a straight line by even Force Indias yet had the determination ability to fight on and re-pass.-that was one of his best drives. In corners he was king even before the Coanda exhausts – his passes on Di Resta in Germany – Button & others at Silverstone, MS – almost everywhere were a hugh highlight of 2012- and all the YouTube feeds have kept me happy over Xmas / new year.

        I don’t know the guy personally and can understand people not taking to him because hes not accessible.But as a driver he is very much one of the best since he came into the sport and in particular the way he reads and passes people on track is peerless.

  13. Justin says:

    Holy crap are the new jackets designed to look like a pack of marlboros or what?

    1. Rich C says:

      Not possible- tobacco adverts are banned, no?

      1. brandon says:

        Look at this; so sweet, so innocent. It’s subliminal dude. Look at the swish and the colours. It was much less subtle when they used the bar code.

      2. Anne says:

        Well Phillip Morris is one of Ferrari´s many sponsors. You can see that at Ferrari´s website. Maybe tobacco is banned at the F1 races. This was a media event. But I know what you mean. It seems to be subliminal advertising

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      Do you smoke? Do you drink? Do you buy breakfast cereal? Or do you find certain programmes on the TV boring?

      We have choices in life, I do not need a Big Brother World Government state telling me what I can and can’t do with my body or time.

      I smoked, for the best part of 30 years, but never Marlboro or JPS or West or Rothmans.

      1. Martin says:

        How about Camel? :-) That 1987 Lotus might have needed the appetite suppressant effects of nicotine to lose weight.

      2. KRB says:

        I know, Mild Sevens! :-)

      3. Justin says:

        if the advertising doesn’t work, then why do companies pay so many many billions and billions of dollars for it?

  14. Hal says:

    Maybe, just maybe he was actually saying it like he saw it. Does he think Mercedes as a team will pose a bigger threat than Red Bull? No. He probably rates Hamilton not in terms of who is likely to be a threat to the WDC but who he believes is the man he sees as a threat in terms of driver performance.

    Of course knowing how astute Alonso is you can never be sure of his motives. So Vettel fans/Hamilton haters or vice versa will read this the way they want to support their view.

    I’m a Hamilton fan but truth be told Mclaren drivers pose more of a threat to WDC than Hamilton this season (so i dont think Alonso needs to worry too much about his main rival in terms of ability) but of course I keeps fingers crossed that I am pleasantly surprised and wrong about Merc car.

    1. Anne says:

      I said this before but I can say it again. It is Alonso´s personal opinion about Hamilton. He made it clear in the press conference it was his personal opinion. He didn´t say Hamilton will win WDC. He only said that in his opinion Hamilton is more talented than Vettel. I don´t think Button and Perez are more of a treat to Alonso.Raikkonen probably is a bigger treat.

      1. Doug says:

        Kind of you to ‘treat’ us with your opinion! :-)

      2. Anne says:

        Forgive me. I´m very careless about spelling and the internet. Here, t-h-r-e-a-t

  15. Sri says:

    Just as others mentioned, somehow Kimi is not rated that high. One of the reasons could be that his quali performance is poorer when compared to his team-mate. I think in 2013, Kimi could be rightfully compared with other drivers as 2012 was still his comeback season and in the early part of the season he was not perfect. In the later part of the season, he was qualifying and driving well, but then the car was unfortunately uncompetitive. Lotus strategy and pit stops were also poor when compared with other teams which contributed to not-so good results in the race. In present conditions, I would rate Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Kimi as the top-4 (in that order) considering both their quali and race performances.

  16. unF1nnished business says:

    I can’t help to think that 50% of what Alonso says is mind games.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      He’s like Sir Alex Ferguson ( Manchester United manager) in that respect

    2. mharker says:

      50%? More like 99%!

    3. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Alonso off season:
      50% Mind Games
      25% Self Aggrandising
      20% History revisionism
      5% My Car was Crap rhetoric

      Alonso on season:
      40% Mind Games
      30% My Car is Crap rhetoric
      20% Self Aggrandising
      10% History revisionism

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Wouldn’t the world be boring if we all liked the same mannerisms in others.

        Senna was a passionate, charismatic racer, willing to push everything to the limit.

        Prost, a consummate professional, very political and unhappy at being pushed beyond his limits.

        I love Alonso’s character and his “Dick Dastardly ways”.

        Something comes to mind, Kimi tells his engineer ” I know what I’m doing, leave me alone” and the world laughs.
        Alonso told his engineer in the 2010 British GP, “I don’t want to hear anymore, leave me alone” some adversary was catching him after drive through penalty involving Kubica.

        Yet because he’s this intense unlikeable character, it’s dismissed.

        The power of the media right?

      2. KRB says:

        I don’t see Alonso as unlikeable. I think he’s quite forthright most times. There are sometimes (calling Hamilton an “aggressive” starter in the wake of the La Source chaos, or saying Kimi should’ve backed off at the start in Suzuka) where I wonder if he and I are watching the same replay coverage. But on the whole I think he calls it like it is.

        Of course he has many fans who go too far in their admiration for him, affording him extra-human abilities, etc. But can’t slag him as a driver just b/c some of his fans are a tad annoying.

      3. Elie says:

        When your political and cunning, even if something is said in all honesty and spur of the moment – people do t believe you. If you are just being yourself and always honest people tend to trust it more…

  17. Holly says:

    Also says his opinion, people spin it, shocking.

  18. goferet says:

    Alright everybody knows Vettel has the strongest mind control on the grid so it will interesting to see if he will fall to the same loss of form Alonso and Lewis suffered on their 26th year.

    Yes, in both those cases it was a result of pressure from competition that led to this dip in form.

    In Alonso’s case, it was pressure from Lewis in 2007 whereas in Lewis’ case in 2011, it was pressure brought about by the super Red Bull car.

    So once again, all years will be on the Wonder kid in 2013.

    1. Mingojo says:

      I thought in Alonso’s case was due to his team boss at the time. And finishing one point behind the WDC can’t be considered a dip in form ;-)

    2. Dan says:

      lol vettel the strongest mind? easy to appear that way with a car 1 second a lap faster than the rest. He would crumble if he ever had to deal with a dog like the F2012.

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        1 sec per lap?! Lol. Sure thing.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        He did when calling others cucumber.. and his frankly dangerous drivng at Monza wasn’t the most calm piece of driving I’ve seen, almost pre-meditated

      3. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Monza was revenge for the previous year. It was not coincidence. And Vettel got it and enjoyed it and showed Alonso not to f&£k with him. And all for a relatively small price. The Samurai got cut. Incidentally I loved Alonso’s messages to Rosberg in Bahrain and also to this incident. Trying to make them my ring tone, “you have to always leav a the space!!!”.

        I saw a side of Vettel in Monza (last 2 years) that really impressed me, getting down and dirty and racing and showing who had the biggest balls. He doesn’t need a back full tattoo to show it.

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        It is even easier to exaggerate one teams’ pace advantage to big up your favoruite driver.

        The F2012 was not a dog. Poor in a couple of races yes, but a very quick car overall. The RB8 wasn’t even the fastest car this year.

      5. Scuderia McLaren says:

        +1

    3. Anne says:

      Vettel the strongest mind? When? When he got angry at Webber in a 2010 accident? When he screams insults at Ricciardo in Abu Dhabi? When he got angry at Hamilton in Germany? When he got angry at Karthykain twice last season? I think Vettel has very bad temper

      1. Wanja says:

        On the same hand, everybody wrote him off in 2010 just before the race in Japan and he did it against all odds, getting the maximum out of the car on every single occasion, even though there was hardly any margin for error left. If you think he’s got a weak mind, just imagine Alesi or Hamilton in the same situation.

    4. hero_was_senna says:

      Fuji behind Webber and pace car.
      Turkey 2010 would suggest otherwise.
      Any time Webber has beaten him, he looks like he’s sucking a wasp
      Any time a back marker gets in his way..
      Warming up tyres behind Ricciardo in Abu Dhabi

      Most significant of all, his unbelievable fortune when he drove into Senna in Brazil, spun round and received no race ending damage.
      His comeback may have been impressive, but I think pressure forced that mistake.

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        And this does not apply to Alonso? Your first paragraph could be used to describe Alonso and Hamilton also.

      2. KRB says:

        Still absolutely incredible that he was hit by two cars and was still able to continue at a decent pace. Some F1 god(s) must like him, that’s for sure!

    5. Stephen Taylor says:

      You’re wtong mate. Alonso gets better with age.

    6. KRB says:

      You don’t run bettor.com do you? Seems as though every article of theirs ends with something like what you wrote.

  19. Val from montreal says:

    This is all Montezemelo’s fault ! If he would have minded his own damn business and let Jean Todt run his operation without interfering and putting his nose where it did’nt belong back in 2006 , the “golden era ” debate would have never materiaze … Mind you that in 2007 , Martin Brundle said on a couple of occasions ( to my surprise ) that he strongly believed that with Schumacher driving the F-2007 the 2007 season would of been alot different .. The 2007 Ferrari was still very much a “schuey” car …Brundle said that had Schumacher not retired , there was no doupt in his mind that MSC would have easily been leading the wdc by mid season … MSC knew the car and team more than Raikkonen … He even said Schumacher would of probably won the championship that year beating the McLarens …. Montezemelo ruined everything … He could’nt leave well enough alone could he ?

    1. Elie says:

      2006 is over Val ! 2012 is too !- and Michael is Goooone – both times – Im so happy :)

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        lol :)

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      I cannot believe what I’m going to say, but you’re right.
      He would have won the 2007 and 2008 WDC.

      Problem was, MSC would never race against a decent driver. His career proved that out.
      I’m guessing LDM wanted a replacement for when Schumi retired, and he pre-empted it

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        2007 yes 2008 no

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Massa came withing a point in 2008, I imagine Schumi would have done just fine.

      3. Wanja says:

        I do think you guys underrate Irvine, Barrichello and Massa – a lot. These drivers have all been pretty decent, but at Ferrai the number one gets what he needs, and the other one has to cope with it.

        Irvine had a title shot in 1999 when Schumacher broke his leg and Ferrari concentrated on him for the first time, later at Jaguar he managed to beat Pedro de la Rosa, Luciano Burti. He remains only beaten by only beaten by Schumacher and Barrichello.

        Barrichello – two times runner up in the championship. Before that at Jordan he has beaten Emanuele Naspetti, Thierry Boutsen, De Ceasaris, Aguri Suzuki, Ex-Ferrari driver Ivan Capelli, Eddie Irvine (see above), Martin Brundle, At Stewart-Ford he sniffed the young “prodigy” Jan Magnussen, Jos “the boss” Verstappen and Johnny Herbert, at Honda he beat Jenson Button in 2008, at Williams he has beaten both “prodigies” Maldonado and Hülkenberg. He remains beaten only by the World Champions Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button (who he beat in 2008).
        Barrichello – not a decent driver? Oh, Please!

        Massa could beat Ex-World Champion Jacques Villeneuve at Sauber, at Ferrari he beat Kimi Räikkönen (another World Champion) in 2008 to become runner up in the championship – not too shabby either.

        You may say a lot about Ferrari, but not that they use to chose “no decent driver” as their number two.

      4. Val from montreal says:

        Super great post Wanja ! The worst part is that Ferrari did indeed offer a job to drivers like Villeneuve, Coulthard, Montoya, Alonso and Raikkonen during their title-assault years (1999 and onwards) … But the challenge of them going up against the defending world champ Schumacher in the same car was too much to handle …. They had their precious little “reputations” to worry about ……

      5. Candice says:

        nope, if michael stay, kimi would remain in mclaren and won the 07 08 titles with ease. we saw how many points wasted by mclaren drivers in both years, still come in handy in the end just prove how great that car was.

      6. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Raikkonen would not have remained in Mclaren, he was already headed for Ferrari.
        As much as rate Raikkonen during his Mclaren years, in his first season at Ferrari he would not have stood a chance against a fully-bedded in Schumi given how much he struggled against Massa.

        If we assume he did stay with Mclaren, he would be racing Alonso in the same team, and against Schumacher in a faster Ferrari. I don’t think he would have won it.

      7. Elie says:

        In a Mclaren in 2007 & 2008 Kimi would have beaten any driver including Michael Schumacher and a rookie Hamilton. Ferrari did not pay $ 54m for Raikkonen for nothing. At the time he was the fastest driver on earth and many times at Mclaren he out qualified and out raced Michael Schumacher in unreliable Mclarens when Ferrari was a much better car.on better tyres. He was and still is very much the real deal just watch Michael Schumachers body language whenever he’s raced against Kimi- you can tell he knows it.

  20. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    IMO if the cars would be closer in 2013, and consistency the most important thing, so Vettel, Alonso and Kimi could fight for the Championship.

    IMO Hamilton could fight for P4, I agree with Alonso’s words that Lewis can win in 2013, maybe Canada, Monaco, Hungary, hopefully.

  21. Nige says:

    Psychology at play here I think. By complementing Hamilton he hopes to take the fight out of him. Hamilton’s best season was arguably 2007 when he fought hard all the way during their public fall out!! He disregards Vettel to some extent so he can disregard him on the race circuit and not tighten up. He knows to beat Vettel he needs help from his rivals, unless Ferrari give him a good car.

    1. unF1nnished business says:

      Spot on.

  22. For sure says:

    The thing was Seb is that he doesn’t mess up whenever he really needed to win titles. We have seen Michael choked, Lewis choked, even the most consistent driver ever, Alonso choked (Japan2007, 2010 last race).
    That finger guy never choked when it mattered.He may be not the fastest, but that asset pays more dividends than being fastest and choke.
    And that should makes him a very very tough opponent to beat.

    1. Chromatic says:

      Exactly right.
      Anyone who watched Abu Dhabi 2012 would have seen how Vettel was able reverse a complete disaster into a success. It left a deep impression on Alonso. And what about Brazil? Again a truimph out of a huge set back for Seb. Can Alonso convince himself that Seb can be beaten? Not going to be easy.
      Hence the usual mind games.
      Seb is going to be the “man to watch” 2013. Not Hammy !!

      1. Doobs says:

        Vettel remains mentally fragile IMO and choked in Brazil, only for his superior car to get him out of jail. Too often last season he was heard crying when things weren’t going his way, he put the car into a barrier under safety car etc..certainly not the cool head being suggested.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Vettel choked? Alonso was overshadowed by a driver who looked to be out of a drive half way through the season!

        Vettel was over-cautious at the start perhaps (and was squeezed by Webber ironicaly enough), but Alonso was not just slow but erratic in Brazil, making the same mistake twice into turn 1 for example.
        In contrast Vettel was lapping a second a lap faster than anybody when on the inters despite driving a damaged car.

        Vettel is more erratic on the whole though, I agree with that. He also has a habit of loosing his head and reacting very strongly to things he should just let slip. His radio rant after his penalty in Spain was brilliant.

      3. Dan says:

        he doesnt choke because when it matters he has the fastest car, which enables him to cruise and collect. everything is so easy with the fastest car, which some people still dont understand. without the fastest car vettel is nothing, as proven by being behind journeyman mark webber on points until Spa. Pathetic.

      4. hero_was_senna says:

        I think his turn in to Senna in Brazil was due to choking and having Webber in front of him already. He was staggeringly lucky to not lose a wheel.

      5. hero_was_senna says:

        Abu Dhabi? Wasn’t that the RBR team breaking the spirit of the rules and starting Seb in a faster configuration for the race?
        Didn’t Seb collect damage to his car before completely destroying his nose whilst trailing behind a safety car and avoiding Ricciardo?

        Alonso and most of the world has said, give him a car on a par with Red Bull and he’ll do the rest.
        Don’t ever forget, Alonso beat Schumacher at his peak, no other driver can claim that honour.

      6. Chromatic says:

        Hold on. Seb started Abu Dhabi from the pitlane. He finished on the podium with Alonso. Fastest car, yes. Still had to deliver.
        Not sure Schumacher was at his peak in 2006. He was crushed by Kimi at Spa 2004. He was certainly at his peak then.

      7. Dutch Johnny says:

        I agree about vettels raging. But c’mon that brazil drive was mighty impressive with that amount of pressure. And that its all about newey crap is getting borring. I think newey was designing most of the mclarens in the 2000′s and they didn’t win any title till 2008 when newey was gone. I do love your replys most of time and you know quite alot but i think when vettel and especially Schumacher comes into play you seem to focuss to much on their negative sides. Regarding Schumacher you should look up a piece by pat symmonds on schumacher on why schumacher was a better driver then senna
        And alonso.

      8. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Hakkinen? Did you watch F1 in the 1990′s? Or was the Ferrari ‘a dog’ then like is claimed now to justify losing?

      9. Elie says:

        Raikkonen almost did twice in a car that broke down every second race. One season Kimi had seven wins with Mclaren when there was only 17 races. These days that would win you a championship by mid season if you finished other races anywhere n the points.

      10. KRB says:

        Yeah Hakkinen and Villeneuve. And Hill.

      11. KRB says:

        Seb as champion is The Man. As the great poet Ric Flair would say, “if you wanna be The Man, you gotta beat The Man!”

        If anyone thinks that Alonso and Hamilton don’t know this, they’re dumb. But I think Alonso’s comments should be taken as-is … basically, that if F1 was a spec-series, that he’d expect to be competing against Hamilton at the top. Just a comment on solely driver ability, not the whole car-driver-team package.

      12. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Love the quote! Lol.

        “Wooooooooo!!”

      13. KRB says:

        Found this clip of the Nature Boy at his best:

        http://bit.ly/UMvxmf

        “Why don’t you get a Mercedes-Benz and be a real man?!!” Haha, love it.

        That quote qualifies it as motorsports-related, no? :-)

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Turkey 2010 choke, spa 2010 choke, canada 2011 huge choke, first half of 2012 choking when his mate was beating him, brazil 2012 huge choke at the first lap and only bombproof car saved his title…

      1. Sami says:

        Really?
        Spain 2010, warned by his pit to retire as his brakes may fail anytime, he stays on the track to get 3rd place.
        It takes guts to do such a thing, especially when your life is on the line.

      2. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Two of those are in 2010, when Vettel was very erratic and clearly struggled with pressure.

        Canada 2011 wasn’t really a ‘choke’. It was Vettel being Vettel and completely taking the piss with how much of the track you can use, as he does so often especially in qualifying. He stepped fractionally outside the dry line trying to keep a much faster Mclaren behind. Simple mistake.

        If the first half of 2012 was Vettel ‘choking’ then you must regard him extremely highly. It may have been poor relative to his 2011 form, but it was by no means poor at all.

        Brazil 2012 I give you.

  23. KK says:

    There are two drivers who are misunderstood the most in the paddock
    1. Kimi
    Yep, everyone knows that he’s laidback and doesn’t give media a field day as opposed to many other drivers who seem to have a lot to say about others. Kimi doesn’t give a penny about others, does his job, works hard for races and comes out pretty clean. Even he has won in 2009 with a car that had development stopped mid way. His racecraft has been supreme all season and if that’s not the sign of a great driver, then what is?

    2. Vettel
    He’s not winning just because of Newey and atleast that can be understood. When the car was not to his liking, he worked with the engineers and designers to make it work. That’s why Marko is right because Vettel shoots the curve up in the second half of the season and that can’t be a coincidence all the time. His strength is controlled aggression and ability to learn from mistakes. Hamilton has been erratic all his career but he seems to have never learned from his wrong doings. Yet, in Alonso’s eyes he’s the best opponent. I think the media should understand where that man is coming from. Resting my case!

    1. Stacy says:

      Both drivers aint good in promoting themselve. Genuine fans will still see though it =)

      1. KK says:

        I understand but why would there even be a need to promote themselves? Aren’t they doing a job and excelling in the same job? Shouldn’t that act as self promotion? Fans and even the media need to judge the drivers on merit and not by what they “say”. Yes, Alonso is a great driver too but then he felt the need to play mindgames while Vettel didn’t. I think Vettel is one of the most secured drivers out there, so is Kimi.

      2. Chromatic says:

        +1

      3. Stacy says:

        i think the only british journalist that value kimi and vettel is James alone.

      4. Anne says:

        I see you point but F1 drivers, football player or actors are public figures. So they are also judge for what they say. And it´s good business for the media because they use controversy to sell. Red Bull does the same thing but it´s not Vettel who speaks. He has Helmut Marko as his spokeman. It´s funny. Marko says Vettel doesn´t care about mindgames. If so then why Marko feels the need to speak about it?

    2. kiko says:

      dead right! but, understandable given that during the season the british press don’t get much access to the likes of vettel, alonso and kimi. they have to make their stories from those somewhat lower down the pecking order …. hamilton and di resta.

      1. KRB says:

        What an ill-informed statement. The Britidh press accounts for something like 40% of all the ink used to write about F1, worldwide! BBC and Sky will always have the greatest access of any media in the paddock.

        Please better fine-tune your attempts at back-handed observations.

    3. mharker says:

      I do believe that Alonso fears Vettel the most. Therefore he’s playing mind games to try and unsettle Red Bull by saying that Hamilton is the best.

      1. krischar says:

        Mark Webber never feared vettel

        Why Alonso need to fear vettel ?

        Webber was superb this season Out Qualified vettel 9-11 and took 2 consummate victories earlier in the season when RBR struggled for consistent pace. vettel only drove well in fnal part of the season when RBR gained advantage over rest of the field.

        @ mharker – Alonso hater ?

      2. trullili says:

        its 11-9 for Vettel you muppet

      3. KRB says:

        Trullili, right over the head, eh?

      4. Scuderia McLaren says:

        [mod] All the stats and analysis in the world don’t change this fact.

        Vettel 1st, Webber 6th – same car.

        The is really, when we boil it down, the only thing that matters, not most fastest laps or quali performance or delta diff to team mate before a pit stop etc. All this business, all the effort is all done to be the highest one can be on the WDC table at the end of e year.

        Webber should be ashamed.

        “Mark Webber never feared Vettel” – krischar.
        Well maybe he should have. Four years of being destroyed is nothing to be super confident about.

    4. Wade Parmino says:

      Raikkonen works hard? He was so lazy, he didn’t turn up for the Thursday track walk at Brazil. Don’t know how many other times this has happened but on this occasion he ended up facing a dead end when he went off the track (he would have known the gate would be closed had he attended). Lotus should put it in his contract that he must be professional and attend these types of sessions. It has nothing to do with sponsor duties for crying out loud.

      1. Elie says:

        Gerard Lopez has said that Kimi has worked extremely hard in 2012 & he signs the multi million dollar cheques to Kimi- but I guess you know better.

        The hard work is what the drivers do behind the scenes in setting up the car and on track giving the best possible feedback in the shortest possible time and getting the results on track- it’s not smiling at the camera and saying “Im the best” .

      2. KK says:

        Oh that was brilliant mate!

      3. Wade Parmino says:

        Why did you conveniently sidestep my central point concerning the track walk? Anyway, perhaps Gerard Lopez doesn’t want to criticise his driver who finished third in the championship. This does not mean he is happy about KR being unprofessional by skipping the track walk. The track walk is an important part of the drivers briefing and should be taken seriously.

        Without intending to be offensive (or complimentary to those who may view it as such) but, I think Raikonnen appeals to the ‘lad’ element of the F1 fanbase. Drivers like Kimi Raikonnen, Nelson Piquet, James Hunt and Mike Hawthorn have never appealed to me. Brabham, Stewart, Senna and Prost are the prime example of a great Grand Prix driver. Perhaps it is a personality issue, but Kimi’s at times obnoxiousness is very offputting indeed.

      4. Elie says:

        Wade I will go one step further and skip all your posts if you like. I can tell you are a very politically correct guy that is easily offended by people who don’t fit your perfect mould of how things “should be”. Perhaps you should take a leaf out of these very people’s books and learn a different perspective and you will enjoy f1characters”a bit more.

        Who knows why Kimi skipped a track walk on a track that he’s walked / cycled 9times previously in his career. Perhaps the conditions were changeable and he deemed it more relevant to check the track out on Sat morning before FP1 which makes very good sense. It’s not that I found it “convenient” to skip your point but rather to address matters relevant to ascertaining a drivers ability. Something which in all your wisdom you have failed to comprehend. Sometimes the brilliant see things that conventional thinkers don’t – where would the world be without them!

        My favourite drivers are Senna, Prost too and Mansell.I don’t care if you think Hamilton or Raikkonen or Vettel are “lads” as long as they are fantastic drivers that’s all that really matters. Your right in that Kimi can be very tactless even abnoxuous and crude at times- But I much prefer this and his honesty and integrity, on track to every driver I’ve seen so far which is why he is so revered by many. He is an enigma but certainly adds personality to the paddock which is tragically lacking nowadays. Unfortunately for many they see this and not his unbelievable skill, speed and accuracy which is something I look forward to every time he gets behind the wheel.

    5. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Spot on KK

  24. mharker says:

    The Alonso-Hamilton love is getting a bit nauseating.

    Doesn’t anybody else feel that all the praise Alonso keeps heaping on Hamilton is not sincere, but has some sort of ulterior motive to it – to unsettle Vettel, to get Hamilton to praise him in return, and since Hamilton beat him in 2007 at least he got beaten by the best etc (someone even mentioned that Alonso kept putting down McLaren to help encourage Hamilton to move from McLaren to Mercedes so that he wouldn’t be a threat to Alonso for some years)

    However the praise Hamilton piles on Alonso seems more sincere. But it could always be because Hamilton beat Alonso, and by saying Alonso is the best that makes Hamilton look even better.

    1. Chromatic says:

      Yes, I think you’re on to something there.
      Anyway, soon enough, every driver will be doing his talking on the track and we’ll find out a lot more about where they all are. Can’t wait.

      1. Elie says:

        Yeah his name Raikkonen

  25. Rob says:

    Vettel’s WDCs hold no merit for me… he was along for the ride. Just like Button was along for the ride when he was running the illegal double diffuser.

    Vettel and Button’s WDC are both meaningless, as it was the car that was clearly the most important factor.

    For me, the WDC lost all its value when DRS (blue flag overtaking) and excess aero was introduced to F1… any old clown can win now.

    1. Spinodontosaurus says:

      So why did Hamilton not win in 2012? Or Webber from 2010-2012 with the oh-so dominant Red Bulls?

      1. Anne says:

        Why Hamilton didn´t win? Well the pit stop crew have the answer. They messed up too many times. Besides his car also have many problems like in Singapore.
        Webber, he is the number 2 driver according to Red Bull.

      2. Goob says:

        The only competitor Button had for his WDC was an aging Rubens… like I said, it holds no real merit for me… it was like taking candy from a baby.

        Now, DRS helps deficient drivers exploit there cars to get past better drivers with inferior cars… again this requires next to no driving skill…

        Infact, I find the blue flag overtakes to be more exciting then a DRS one…

      3. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Blue Flag passes more exciting than DRS? Get out, and take of those rose tinted specs. DRS is preferable to a procesion, even if it is artificial.

    2. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Couch warrior

    3. hero_was_senna says:

      Hear hear

  26. Kimi4WDC says:

    This is just shows that Ferrari and certain other teams still receive money from tobacco companies (which I’m not against).

    I have absolutely no idea why else why Ferrari would keep that horrible red and white scuderia logo. Unless that amateur designer is LdM’s friend or whatever.

    1. Le Mister says:

      ….Red and white go together… Miss those colors on the McLarens! And as far as cigarettes go, Red Bull is pretty bad for your health too…

  27. JB says:

    I’m gonna skip the bit about Alonso’s thought on Hamilton and Vettel.

    I’ll say this though
    “The Ferrari F2013 is developed by Toyota!” There should be a Toyota badge on the Ferrari. LOL

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Hehe, yep.

      1. Martin says:

        McLaren is using the Toyota tunnel too, as James mentioned recently. You may as well say that any car that uses the Nordschleife is a product of pre-Nazi Germany.

      2. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Hi Martin, perhaps it’s not clear in text form, but I think JB made a joke. FYI The “Lol” is a give away. My reply, “hehe yep” is confirmation of said joke and that I also find the original connection JB mentioned between Toyota wind tunnel and Ferrari design humorous.

        I don’t think either I or JB actually believe Ferrari should carry a Toyota symbol.

        Hard to convey humor sometimes over the Internet. You can be calm now, I note that McLaren uses the Toyota wind tunnel also for correlative purposes.

      3. JB says:

        A windtunnel is way more complicated than a piece of tarmac.

  28. Manners says:

    I think Alonso is overall the number 1 driver right now but his comments are absolutely intended to rub Vettel up the wrong way. In terms of Hamilton, Alonso’s comments are fair but make no mistake if he was going to be at a stronger team this year he would be much less inclined to praise him. Overall he knows Hamilton is not a threat this year and in reality Vettel is.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Classic mental warfare. 100% spot on. The moto gp riders do exactly this. The real threat is never mentioned and someone who really won’t be a threat is claimed to be a riders “biggest worry”. Funnily this won’t work on Vettel, it hasn’t in the last 3 years and won’t in future either. Just shows how fragile Alonso is from yet another WDC stolen from under him.

    2. KRB says:

      Except that Alonso said the same thing last year, when Lewis was still at McLaren.

      1. Manners says:

        That is true and supports my point considering the season Vettel had in 2011…

      2. Manners says:

        And let’s not forget Hamilton’s 2011 season where he falling apart and lost to Button..

  29. Elie says:

    It’s the truth regardless of what’s behind it. Because Lewis is always competitive and extracts most out of the car on each occasion.

    However I would be equally worried about Raikkonen in his second year back – he waits for nobody also !

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Hamilton extracts the most? Did you see him in the 2011 season? Over three yesrs, Button accrued more pts. Gaining pts is the whole purpose of F1. People put way to much stock into qualifying. Qualifying is just that, qualifying for the race. The race is what matters, as it is there that the pts are awarded and is what the teams crave. In 2010, Button was adapting. In 2011, Button destroyed Hamilton. In 2012 Button almost matched his pts. Over three years, Button delivered more than Hamilton. FYI, I don’t rate Button that highly.

      1. Elie says:

        Clearly you DO rate Button. Did you also consider how many times Lewis car broke down or how many times his pit crew failed him ( Petrol and tyres changes) and Im not just talking about this year. I also think a few of last years years faults were not Lewis problem. If you take only half if such instances Jenson did not come even close to Lewis – why do you think he left ??. The other thing I don’t understand is how can a WC like Jenson get lapped by his team mate or finished outside the top 10 in a Mclaren- in the same car !!- please tyre difficulty or not. Lewis is clearly another level to JB and anyone who thinks otherwise is absolutely dreaming !.

  30. Vic says:

    I’m not a Fan of Alonso, infact I don’t really like him that much. But I have respect for his talent, I’m confident he will go down in history as one of the greats.

  31. Lace says:

    And that’s why I don’t like Alonso. Mind games, politics, downplaying his rivals, downplaying his own car, praising himself…Ugh. This guy has no champion mentality. He’s a great driver, but a sour loser.

    1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      As the likes of Lauda, Piquet, Senna, Prost, Schumy…

  32. DMyers says:

    “Hamilton he (sic) is the only one of his rivals who has raced alongside him in the same team and been able to beat him over a season.” This is a slightly disingenuous analysis. If you look at their results, Alonso finished ahead of Hamilton in nine races, which is more than Hamilton finished ahead of Alonso (six times), and they scored the same number of points; Hamilton only got second place on countback of second places.

    1. KRB says:

      In the DWC table, who is second, and who’s third? Also consider this was Lewis’ rookie year. He had an advantage of testing the Bridgestones for longer, but that should’ve been swamped by the disadvantage of being a rookie alongside the 2xDWC. Apparently Dennis told Lewis before the season not to get too down if he was 0.5-1.0 secs back of Alonso in lap time. We know how that turned out.

  33. aveli says:

    alonso is smart enough to refuse to deny facts. no sports person goes into a sport and all of a sudden become the highest paid without being the best at the sport.
    looking at the number of posts on this story compared to older ones clearly indicates the interest this great sportsman generates. talent gets better results than ideologies.

  34. Andrew says:

    I disagree with most of the commenters here that Alonso’s comments are designed to unsettle Vettel. I think the motivation is much more narcissistic.

    Hamilton is the only driver to beat Alonso in the same car (of course the actually finished level on points). By saying ‘Hamilton is the best’, Alonso is saying that only the very best driver (along with what many believe was favourable treatment from Mclaren) is capable of matching his ability.

    Alonso has consistently used comments like these to raise his own profile. He was allowed by Ferrari to repeatedly criticise his car in order to raise his own profile (when the Ferrari was actually very competitive in race trim) and his comments about ‘racing Newey’ were just another example of this.

  35. Dorian says:

    James,

    Did Mclaren ever have a go at trying to sign Raikkonen instead of Perez? It would seem better to go with the devil you know!

    Thanks!

    1. Lynn says:

      I think Raikkonen is too free spirit to return to McLaren even though MW is a fan. I would love to see him back.

      I think Lotus suits him better & maybe RedBull?

      2013 will be a fun season with all the 5 WDCs spread out in different teams.

      1. Chromatic says:

        yes, so far Lotus has been a success for KR. But do you have a slight concern about their medium term prospects, with some slight signs of instability within the team, and can we be 100% certain that Lopez’s finances are solid.
        I think Kimi needs to be in a top team to reach his full potential in what are probably his final years in F1.
        RBR when Webbo is put out to pasture.

    2. Martin says:

      I’m not sure that contractually it would have possible – I think Lotus and Kimi had both met performance targets that trigger a second season, so it would mean buying Kimi out. On top of that would have been his salary as a McLaren driver, his unwillingness to do much PR work and the likely loss of Mexican money.

  36. trullili says:

    Trulli has beaten Alonso in the past before he was “taken care of” by Alonsos manager Briatore.

    Hamilton in the past 6 years hasnt done anything at McLaren a Raikkonen or Vettel for example couldnt have done better. He is not that exceptional talent that everyone in the british press is desperate to make out of him. A standard top driver with some flaws, but no more. I expect Vettel to keep outperforming Hamilton for the rest of their careers, maybe not every year but most of them. Vettel at Red Bull, Ferrari and possibly some other team and Hamilton at Mercedes and Red Bull or back to McLaren.

    1. JB says:

      Agreed.
      Hamilton has been boosted a lot in the English media. His flamboyant char and mistake prone abilities also made him popular.
      In terms of success rate, Vettel and Raikkonen (the comeback version) are considerably better.

  37. Martin says:

    Looking through the comments, one thing I didn’t spot was any reflection on Alonso saying Vettel made no mistakes in wet/dry races in 2011. Canada is pretty famous. Hungary I don’t remember as clearly, but Vettel was defending pretty hard from Hamilton early in the race and I think he went wide at turn 2. Should we be thinking he had the best car and he did make mistakes?

    I wonder how much Alonso is considering pure car speed? Hamilton still had the odd stint during 2012 where he didn’t get the tyre management quite right. Hamilton has a tendency to favour qualifying speed with set up choices – strategically he doesn’t like playing the long game as he’d rather attack early, rather than risk having too much to do at the end. It will be interesting to see Hamilton’s relationship with Mercedes. Button appeared to out manoeuvre Hamilton within McLaren. Did this change anything on the track? That is hard to tell. Hamilton’s way seems to be to repay the teams efforts with results rather than a sincere sense that cares for the team.

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Yes, what an epic mistake Canada was. That would have been heart break, to have fallen off so late in the race.

      I bet Vettel doesn’t like remembering that 2nd place often. Lol

  38. bighaydo says:

    I saw the F2012 at the Australian GP last year. Trust me, it was a dog! The car spent the first two days of the weekend coloured in bright yellow flo-vis, had terrible turn in understeer and even worse exit oversteer. Granted, the RB8 wasn’t that quick that weekend, but the Ferrari was not only visibly slower, but it was unhinged! Alonso was by far the better Ferrari driver, he was throwing it arouna and somehow extracting whatever speed he could, while Massa was trundling around going nowhere. I doubt Felipe actually hit the apex at turn 1…

    1. Scuderia McLaren says:

      What you suggest is better than snap over steer on corner entry and massive push understeer on exit. That sort of balance means you are off throttle for too long. At least the other way around, broadly speaking, you can coax a car around a track with some steering violence on entry and throttle finesse on exit (not a massa strong suit).

      Another thing, lest we forget this car was developed with Alonso in mind and for Alonso with his input being a premium factor. This was truly “his car”. The car’s terrible balance is as much his fault as it is Ferrari’s. F1 is not just about driving fast. The balance you suggest sounds like a classic Alonso direction to be honest, but clearly too extreme.

  39. JohnBt says:

    Wouldn’t it be unfair not to rate Vettel as great driver from 2012 Brazil’s race. Amongst the great, yes, but not the greatest. Senna is still the greatest.

    If there was a vote for Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel I’m very sure it will be this order.

  40. erik says:

    Hello, James. It is very rude to not to let to express opinions that`s not to your likening. You`ll need to have a little more perspective. You exist because of us and F1 too for that matter. I took time to write and post and this is how i see the subject. I did not want you to say, what to think about something.
    I never thought i will post comments but last few years are really frustrating to see how very nice personalities are thrown into mud, just to keep the business going. I say business, because these worlds should be kept separately-business and sport.
    Why do sportsmen let to abuse themselves by the owners of F1. I tell you – they love the sport.
    This is the down side of the sport, to have prostitutes next to you and you have to say that you love them.

    I do not really need to let this kind of people to dictate, what to say or not to say. I`ll hope you don`t take this personally, because if you do, this is not the place for you to be.
    So, da da, and thank you to show me, how wrong i was to think that my writing makes people to see things from another perspective.

    1. James Allen says:

      I allow opinions not to my liking or that I disagree with, of course

      But I won’t allow comments which attack people for the sake of it or which are simply negative and add nothing to debate

      1. Scuderia McLaren says:

        To be honest, James has allowed more leeway in the restrictions he places on comments than any other major blog I know. I was only thinking that the other day.

        I applaud you James for allowing debates to run their course naturally. I applaud that you allow comments that can be very contra to your veiw and controversial all round (I’m sure some of mine have fallen into a category of nearly restricting).

        Given that you check each comment, and given the popularity of your blog, I think you do a great job. As good as any and better than most. Saw another prominent blogger / F1 writer / novelist / consultant just the other day throw his toys out of the basket when he was challenged and shown to be wrong. Many comments on his blog I suspect do not get posted for the sake of being on “message” or his message to be accurate.

        Never heard someone claim impartiality so often only to clearly be the opposite.

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