Written by Owen Bradley, Edited by Simran Kanthi
Ahead of the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso has come under some hate from Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes fans who think they know better than a man who has actually raced against legends like Michael Schumacher, Hamilton himself, Sebastian Vettel, and Max Verstappen. Go figure, huh?
Look, Alonso knew exactly what he was doing, a master of controversy, he claimed, “It is different when you win seven titles when you have only had to fight your teammate.”
The question is… isn't Alonso correct? If you have to fight against another team, another manufacturer, and another entire piece of machinery, and you beat them - then that is slightly, slightly more impressive than beating the exact same car, the exact same team. Let me give you some examples…
Sebastian Vettel came out on top in 2010, but going into Abu Dhabi - the season finale - Hamilton in the McLaren was within mathematical contention for the championship, as was Vettel's teammate Mark Webber, and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. That was Vettel versus Ferrari, McLaren, and his own teammate, so he was partially even against Red Bull themselves, at least against one side of the garage.
In 2012, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso had an exceptional battle that went down to the wire at Interlagos, Brazil. Vettel was up against a different beast, a totally different car with a different style of performance, and that one went down to the final race as well.
After all, to cross a championship boundary - in MotoGP this year, we have had Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) versus Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati). This has made it absolutely fascinating, as we have seen certain bikes not performing well at certain circuits, and so it boils down to the wire at Valencia!
This has also been the case with the massively underrated World Superbike Championship, where Toprak Razgatlioglu (Yamaha), Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki), and Alvaro Bautista (Ducati) have been fighting for the championship.
However, if Max Verstappen had his closest rival be Sergio Perez, everybody would say that 2022 has been an "easy" championship for him, just like they did when Schumacher was up against significantly weaker teammates.
But Alonso does have a point I feel, after all, when Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were in the same team, there was an exceptional battle. This boiled over when Prost went to Ferrari, and the pair was locked in a championship battle once again, and one could even argue it was more interesting as both of them were the 'Number 1 drivers' at the top teams in Formula One, and it really got brought the best out of not only the drivers but also the teams.
That is also something that the entire 2021 season was able to achieve.
When Hamilton won the 2020 championship, for example, he was up against his teammate Valterri Bottas. Now with all due respect - that championship will be remembered as his record-breaking one, not because it was a thrilling championship. That is definitely not to say that Hamilton's championships aren't impressive, you do not "luck" yourself into seven world titles
But, it is Hamilton himself who has stated previously that he loves to fight hard for a win, and it makes it that much more satisfying. So I pose you this question, is that not the same in terms of satisfaction for a championship win?
Perhaps it is just me, but I will take a driver having to absolutely fight year in and year out for their championship. And if they can consistently fight and hold off the other high-quality competition, then that is a truly satisfying championship win because you get to see so many elements for that championship - you get to see raw pace, but also racecraft, how they handle pressure. There are just so many added elements to a close championship fight - especially against another team(s).
So perhaps Alonso should have phrased it more on the basis of a satisfying championship, not a championship with "less value" as he said.
However, there is a point to be made out there, that deep down perhaps Fernando Alonso is still deeply bothered by being shown up by a rookie Lewis Hamilton all those years ago.
The British fans and British media will come for Fernando Alonso, after all, they always have because, well - British Bias exists.
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