Fernando Alonso Defends Lando Norris Days After Echoing Disrespectful Take On Lewis Hamilton

Published 09/08/2023, 10:15 PM EDT

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Lewis Hamilton has been called many things over the course of his 17-year Formula 1 career: the best rookie of all time, a seven-time champion, Sir Lewis Hamilton, the GOAT. But if there’s anyone who could call the Brit an “idiot” and get away with it, it’s his 2007 teammate Fernando Alonso. An intense yet ugly—at times—rivalry that started as soon as the then-rookie stepped into McLaren alongside the two-time world champion is still going strong. And the 2022 Belgian GP arguably brought out the worst in Alonso.

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“Yeah, what an idiot! Closing the door from the outside. I mean, we had a mega start but this guy only knows how to drive and start in first,” said the Spaniard after his first-lap collision with Hamilton. Going into Turn 5, Alonso in P2 had the inside line with Hamilton right alongside him for Turn 6. It was clear the Brit wasn’t going to make the corner and, instead, made contact with Alonso. Just about a month ago, Lando Norris echoed the Spaniard’s comment (in a less furious, more joking way), and Alonso is now firmly on Norris’ side.

Fernando Alonso sees a special spark in Lando Norris

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While the 2007 season was one to remember for McLaren, 2023 started as nothing like that. Instead, Norris and Oscar Piastri had to fight amongst the backmarkers until the MCL60’s miraculous turnaround. Courtesy of the new-spec MCL60 (and mostly his driving skills, as Norris would say), the young Brit secured two consecutive podiums in Silverstone and Hungary. After starting from pole in Hungary, Hamilton could only manage a P4. Securing pole after 33 race weekends, Hamilton expressed how challenging it is to be anywhere other than in front.

After the race, Norris said, “Yesterday, Lewis complained of how tough it was, finishing outside first position. Try racing in 19th and 20th. He’s never done that in his life. That’s the only thing that Lewis hasn’t done that I have in Formula 1.” As accurate as that may be, Hamilton’s fanbase did not take Norris’ comments too well. But one person who obviously didn’t mind the young Brit calling out his compatriot was Alonso. But that’s not why the two-time champion is on his side. 

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Lando Norris Left Red-Faced as Lewis Hamilton & Fernando Alonso Expose McLaren’s Achilles’ Heel

Alonso was a fierce young gun (and still is because he’s making 42 look like 22) during his early years in F1, going up against the likes of Michael Schumacher. He sees a similar quality in Norris. In a recent interview, Alonso was asked which new-generation driver catches his eye. He replied, “Well, we have Lando [Norris], who is a great talent and also a nice guy.While Alonso has been called anything but nice during his time in F1, he believes—apart from his talent—that’s an admirable quality in Norris. As appreciative as he’s been about Norris’ driving, he also knows he needs to keep an eye out for the Brit.

Fernando Alonso gave Aston Martin a wake-up call after Norris’ exploits

Alonso moved from Alpine to Aston Martin this season. From how the Silverstone outfit started its season, it seemed like the Spaniard’s rejuvenated self, reflected on Aston’s car. After finishing P7 in the Constructors’ Championship, Aston started 2023 as the second-fastest car. But somewhere along the way, it let Mercedes and Ferrari catch up. Following McLaren’s turnaround—which saw Norris and Piastri make considerable ground on Aston’s points haul—Alonso gave his team a wake-up call.

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Before the summer break, Alonso said, “With McLaren, in the Constructors’ [Championship], we have enough of an advantage, but obviously, we need to keep an eye. They are very fast, but they are a lot of points behind, so we should have enough space to keep the distance to them.” With just eight races left and just over 100 points between them, the battle for P4 (and P3) in the championship is at stake. Who will come out on top: Aston Martin or McLaren?

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Watch This Story: Does Fernando Alonso Believe He Can Be a 3-time World Champion? 

Do you think Lando Norris is one of the best drivers in the younger generation, as Fernando Alonso said?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan

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Aditi is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports and is essentially a sportsperson. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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