Alonso praises "incredible" Hamilton performance in podium fight

Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images

Alonso praises "incredible" Hamilton performance in podium fight

Formula 1

Alonso praises "incredible" Hamilton performance in podium fight


Fernando Alonso says Lewis Hamilton delivered an “incredible race” in their podium fight at the Australian Grand Prix as he tried to force his rival into mistakes.

Hamilton led for a spell but, after being overtaken by Max Verstappen, spent the majority of the race with Alonso close behind him in the battle for second place. The focus was on ensuring the hard compound tire would make it to the end without another pit stop, leading Alonso to have spells closing in and others dropping back, and after settling for third place ahead of teammate Lance Stroll the Spaniard was full of praise for Hamilton.

“Incredible, also for the team – third and fourth, 27 points out of this Sunday – it really made me feel happy for all the boys and girls in the team,” Alonso said. “The race was not easy for sure. I think at the beginning we got lucky with the first red flag because George (Russell) and Carlos (Sainz) pitted so we benefitted from that, and then in terms of pace we were very close to Lewis all through the race. But any time that I tried to get close he seemed to pick up the pace.

“I tried to put on the pressure but he had an incredible race, no mistakes at all as you probably expect from him – a champion – only one lock-up I think in Turn 13 in 58 laps! So I was trying to put on the pressure but nothing happened, so we take P3.”

Hamilton called the battle “awesome” and claimed that Alonso had a slightly quicker car as Aston Martin again delivered a strong performance in Melbourne, believing the Mercedes advantage came from top speed.

“He was in my tow, so I think we were probably slightly quicker on the straight and he was quicker through all the corners,” Hamilton said. “So I think we definitely have some performance to find. It definitely wasn’t easy keeping him at bay, and keeping them out of the DRS zone. But it was really quite interesting, just to see where we were, where we were lacking, and where we were good.

“So there’s lots of positives to take from but we do naturally need to add on some performance. I mean, they’ve been ahead the past two races but for us to somehow still finish ahead is pretty awesome. So I’ll definitely take it.”

Alonso agreed with Hamilton’s assessment given how close he could stay to the Mercedes ahead, as the double world champion rarely dropped more than two seconds adrift.

“Probably. I think when you do 50 laps within two seconds of the car in front you normally have a little bit more, If you have a bit of clean air you can normally you can get two or three tenths out of that lap time, but on the other hand I could not get any closer than that, so I think we were very similar.”