Fernando Alonso has admitted that he doesn’t think that Lewis Hamilton’s first year in Formula 1 could be considered that of a rookie.
The Spaniard admitted that he struggled with adapting to the Bridgestone tyres after the company became the sport’s solo supplier in 2007 following the withdrawal of Michelin. Meanwhile Hamilton was entering the sport as a rookie and did not have to make this transition.
“It’s true that people say normally that it was his rookie year and it was not my rookie year,” Alonso said during the WTF1 podcast. “At the same time I can say that it was a change for Bridgestone, [it was] like GP2 tyre of that time.
“So my first three or four races in my winter test were very compromised for this tyre and I had to readapt a lot of things on my side. It never got public that thing, because it’s not of public interest.”
Alonso also claimed that both he and Hamilton were affected by the “luck factor”, citing Hamilton’s error at the penultimate race of the season in Shanghai where his car slid into the gravel whilst entering the pitlane following mixed weather conditions. The Brit was beached and as a result lost the comfortable lead he had held in the drivers’ championship.
Meanwhile Alonso said that he believed he had been given “one of the most unfair penalties” at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he was deemed to have blocked Hamilton in the pits during qualifying.
The Spaniard also cited gearbox problems that affected him at two races and forced him to start from a lower grid position. But despite these issues, Alonso remains content with what he achieved alongside Hamilton in 2007, where both drivers ended the season on 109 points each. Kimi Raikkonen beat them to the title by just one point.
“If you lose the championship for one point, that hurts when it’s something like that,” explained Alonso. “[But] 109 and 109, I’m happy.”
Alonso maintains that comparing Formula 1 drivers is a challenging task, especially across different eras.
“It’s difficult to compare times and difficult to compare drivers,” said the double World Champion. “You need to have all the things and all the ingredients together to have a fair answer.
“[It’s] difficult to compare Michael [Schumacher], Lewis, [Ayrton] Senna. They’ve been all great in different eras and a lot of victories for sure. You need a car and a package that Lewis has at the moment and he is delivering.”