Fernando Alonso says Lewis Hamilton has raised his level in recent years, but wants a “proper fight” with the six-time world champion to put pressure on his weaknesses.
Hamilton goes into 2020 looking to match Michael Schumacher’s record of seven drivers’ championships, while he also has Schumacher’s all-time wins record and podium record in his sights. While Alonso said Hamilton’s quality can be gauged by how often he outperforms teammate Valtteri Bottas when the Mercedes is not dominant, the Spaniard still believes nobody has put enough pressure on him in over the past three seasons.
“He’s made a step forward – he is more competitive, more prepared,” Alonso told F1 Racing. ”He still has some weak points that have not been stressed yet – no-one is pressing that button, that weakness.
“He’s raised the level the last couple of years, especially in 2019 when the car has not been as dominant as other seasons. If he cannot win, he’s a very close second – not 20 seconds further back, which is what happens a little bit with Valtteri. A weekend when the car is not as competitive, Bottas is fifth or sixth or a minute behind – but Lewis is not.”
While the pair were teammates for just one year during a turbulent 2007 season, Alonso – who has suggested he would be interested in a return to Formula 1 in 2021 – admitted he’d like to be able to head-to-head with Hamilton once again to see how the Briton would respond to the pressure at this stage of his career.
“If you study Lewis’ season, there is always a common trend,” he said. “He starts the year slowly, and no-one takes the benefit of that. We all get excited that it will be the year of Bottas, but it’s not.
“It would be nice to compete against him in a proper fight. Maybe his weak points are not real and everything is calculated, but it would be nice to discover.
“When you have a good package and the other guys crash and you extend your championship lead, everything seems calm. If you are only one point behind or 10 points behind, the stress is different. The mistakes are different and your radio communications are different. We need to see him when the pressure is on.”