Fernando Alonso believes that Michael Schumacher was almost like a "teacher" to him when they raced together in the 2000s.
The Spaniard had many battles with Schumacher during his title-winning years in 2005 and 2006 and, reflecting on this time now, thinks that he learned a lot from the legendary driver's approach to racing.
When asked on the Beyond The Grid podcast if Schumacher brought out the best in him, Alonso explained: "Absolutely.
"I think Michael was, for me, the biggest rival that I consider [to have had in] my career. [He was] like a teacher, for me, in many ways, because I was young, I was coming into Formula 1.
"I found myself fighting for a World Championship that maybe I was not ready at that point to fight for such a big thing, and I had alongside [me] Michael with all his knowledge and his approach, never giving up."
Schumacher's "special" performances
Alonso remains impressed by what Schumacher was able to achieve during their battles together, with the German's Ferrari sometimes the lesser-performing car against Alonso's Renault.
"[He was] always performing something special," Alonso said.
"Because I remember [at] some races the Renault was a better car, or we thought that we had an advantage on the tyres or on the package itself that weekend.
"Then we went into qualifying and you're happy, they tell you on the radio that you are on pole position, you more or less suspected that. And then you go to the scales in parc ferme, you look at the screen and [see that] Michael was second.
"[You would question] how that was possible. You came into qualifying thinking that that was a good weekend to stretch a little bit the advantage in the championship but, even on a bad weekend, Michael was second.
"So it was unbelievable, the performance that he still put out in a non-competitive weekend. He was playing magic sometimes."
Schumacher retired from F1 at the end of the 2006 season, but made a comeback in 2010 with Mercedes, where he raced for three years before leaving the sport for the final time.
Meanwhile Alonso returned to Formula 1 this season following a two-year hiatus, and now races alongside Schumacher's son, Mick Schumacher.
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