300 Races Later, Lewis Hamilton Hails His Greatest F1 Opponent And It’s Not Max Verstappen

Published 07/22/2022, 7:00 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria – July 10, 2022 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after placing second in the Austrian Grand Prix as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after placing third REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Ahead of his 300th race, Lewis Hamilton has named his toughest competitor. Over the years, the Briton has shared some intense battles with many of his competitors. Though his current tally of world championships is at 7, none of his rivals let him have it easy. However, one, in particular, managed to scare Hamilton the most.

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The tactician and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was a goliath in the world of F1 when Hamilton first entered the sport in 2007. Fresh off a world championship win, the Spaniard might’ve intimidated the then-rookie Hamilton. Though the 37-year-old found his footing and gave a tough time to Alonso, he still lost out on the championship just like him by 1 point.

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Understandably, when asked about his toughest competition, Hamilton had to take Alonso’s name snubbing the likes of Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, and even Nico Rosberg. He revealed, “I think it’s difficult to say who has necessarily been the strongest competitor. Because every time you’re with someone, you’re in a different place in your life.”

“I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22. I was so young mentally and, of course, okay in terms of skill, but it’s a lot of pressure to go up against a great like Fernando. I would say on pure pace, Fernando [is the toughest]. We had some good battles.”

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The prancing horses’ Kimi Räikkönen won his first ever world championship that season. And it’s safe to say, Alonso left the McLaren camp with a bitter experience.

Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen and Hamilton vs Alonso

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Many new fans of F1 would believe that Verstappen is Hamilton’s biggest rival to date. And they’re not wrong. The Dutch Lion pipped Hamilton to run away with the 2021 world title controversially. The duo never let up an inch while going head-to-head, crashing thrice viciously in the 2021 season. Not to mention, they barely ever had good words to say about each other.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria – July 10, 2022 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action REUTERS/Florion Goga

The duo raced each other hard, pushing to the very limits, and producing one of the most dramatic seasons of F1 history. However, rookie Hamilton did not have a smooth ride with Alonso either, who blocked him during the Hungarian GP qualifying.

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Alonso, a two-time world champion, should’ve easily been the leading man of the team. However, the Briton’s quick progress did threaten his position as both of them finished the season tied. However, the duo did not necessarily share a vicious relationship. So, what is your favorite Hamilton rivalry of all time?

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Khyati Yadav

441 articles

Khyati Yadav is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. She is a Hospitality Graduate and a huge fan of Lando Norris. She believes that F1 as a sport deserves a lot more attention and is intrigued by the process that goes behind the making of a car and the hard work that goes into the setting up of any Grand Prix.

Edited By: Arunaditya Aima

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