Fernando Alonso has said that he'll miss Kimi Raikkonen as a competitor when the Finn steps away from Formula 1 at the end of 2021, with Raikkonen announcing his retirement prior to the Dutch Grand Prix weekend.
Alonso entered Formula 1 in 2001 at the same time as Raikkonen and the pair have been long-term rivals.
Back in 2005, they fought over the World Championship when Raikkonen was at McLaren and Alonso at Renault, with Alonso winning on that occasion. Another championship battle occurred in 2007, when Raikkonen was at Ferrari and Alonso at McLaren, Raikkonen emerging victorious that time.
Raikkonen would later be replaced by Alonso at Ferrari for the 2010 season, taking two years out of the sport before making a return with Lotus. Raikkonen then teamed up with Alonso at Ferrari in 2014, with the Spaniard drubbing him that season before rejoining McLaren.
Despite their long history, Alonso admitted that he wouldn't miss Raikkonen's presence much in the paddock and said he never really got to know him.
"Not much, no. I don't know him enough to have an opinion," he told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"We know that Kimi is special and quite shy, and not [forming] big relationships with anyone. I was his teammate in 2014 at Ferrari but, even that year, we didn't have the opportunity to meet each other well enough or more than now so, yeah, I can't say anything about that.
"But there are always 20 drivers in F1. And we go up and down in the order, and we are sometimes not in the sport anymore. And probably it is his decision. I think he did an amazing career, he did enjoy the time here. And, for sure, [I am] wishing him the best for the future."
While Alonso may not miss Raikkonen's off-track presence, he praised him for his abilities as a racer and said that he could always be trusted in a wheel-to-wheel fight.
"As a competitor, yeah, we will miss him because, obviously, he has been [here] for many years, and we had great battles," Alonso commented.
"In the past more, because we had more competitive cars, and we were fighting for championships and podiums and things like that.
"[He was] always fair, always respectful. [He was] always a tough competitor, but old-school. So [he was] always very fair and [there were] no tricks. In that aspect, I think I will miss him. You knew that you could trust him when you were side-by-side, because he will never do any crazy thing or anything to put anyone in danger. He was a fair competitor."
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