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Hamilton explains why Alonso was his toughest F1 rival

Lewis Hamilton has passed the milestone of achieving over 300 Grand Prix starts in F1, and in that time has battled with several opponents. The seven-time World Champion has been reflecting on his toughest fight of all.

Lewis Hamilton has named Fernando Alonso as his toughest opponent during his F1 career. Hamilton celebrated the milestone of achieving 300 race starts at the French Grand Prix in July, putting him sixth on the list of the drivers with the most Formula 1 entries in history. During his time in the sport since his debut in 2007, the Mercedes driver has battled with some of the other famous names in the top 10, including multiple World Champions Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. However, it is Alonso – who is close to breaking Kimi Raikkonen's record of the highest number of Grand Prix starts – who Hamilton cites as one of his most challenging rivals.

Hamilton reflects on "pressure" of Alonso battle

Hamilton acknowledges that it is difficult to select his strongest opponents, given the different stages of his career that he has been at with various rivalries. He admits, though, that his rookie year in Formula 1 as Alonso's teammate at McLaren was particularly challenging. "It's difficult to say who's really been the strongest competitor, because every time you're [battling] with someone, you're in a different place," Hamilton told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22. I was so young mentally and, of course, okay in terms of skill, but it's a lot of pressure to go up against a great like him. "So, out of pure pace, I would say it's Fernando [that has been my toughest opponent] and his ability."

Hamilton hopes for more Alonso duels

With Alonso set to remain in Formula 1 for the forseeable future – having signed a multi-year deal to race with Aston Martin from 2023 onwards – Hamilton is hopeful that there may still be more on-track fights between them. "We had some good battles," the seven-time World Champion added. "I wish we could have more. Hopefully he's going to continue to race, so hopefully we'll have more in the future."

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