F1 Throwback: When Alonso Said Sebastian Vettel Was Not on the Same Level as Lewis Hamilton

Published 01/10/2021, 7:53 AM EST
MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JUNE 08: Pole position qualifier Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and second place qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talk in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Fernando Alonso is box-office and his comeback in F1 is already garnering headlines. That also entices us to look back at the time when he made such comments about his two major rivals – Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

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Back in 2012, the then Ferrari driver astonishingly said that Vettel was not on the same level as Hamilton. Mind you, Vettel was already a 2-time World Champion by then, in contrast to the Briton who won his singular title in 2008.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 20: Fernando Alonso of McLaren at Albert Park on March 20, 2016. (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

“I think I know who is maybe better than Sebastian being teammates in McLaren (with Hamilton) and racing maybe a couple of more years together. So, in those years, I saw Lewis winning races with not maybe the best car,” said Alonso.

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“I saw Lewis doing an amazing performance when sometimes it was not a competitive car in hands. And these things at the moment, we didn’t see with Sebastian.”

So, what did the German needed to do to draw level to Hamilton in Alonso’s eyes?

“When maybe the Red Bull is ready to do 8th or 7th. When I see Sebastian winning the race (and) being on the Podium. That will put him, I think, at the same level as Lewis.”

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 18: (L-R) Mclaren Mercedes team mates Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Well, that never happened. While Vettel went to clinch 2 further championships, including giving Alonso a heartbreak in Brazil with a narrow title win, he left the team as soon as the going went tough. He was totally outclassed by Red Bull debutant Daniel Ricciardo in 2014 with the onset of Mercedes‘ dominance.

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Vettel has himself admitted to the superiority of Lewis Hamilton

One thing that Vettel is, if not as fast as Hamilton, is respectful and honest. When Hamilton equaled Michael Schumacher‘s record of seven Championships with a masterful drive in Turkey, he called the former the greatest driver of his generation.

“I think every era has its driver or its drivers, and Lewis is certainly the biggest, greatest of our era,” said Vettel.

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the race and the world championship Pool via REUTERS/Clive Mason/Pool/File Photo

While it must have been stinging for Vettel fans to hear, it is nothing but the absolute truth. Hamilton is in a class of his own, compared to his peers. Maybe Alonso, who is making his return, can rattle his chains better next season.

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Bharat Aggarwal

604 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. When he's not following Formula One or NBA, Bharat also enjoys tennis and MMA.

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