Lewis Hamilton has seemingly responded to Fernando Alonso's suggestion that Max Verstappen's F1 titles hold more value than Hamilton's due to the relative strength of competition. Verstappen’s 2021 championship win came after a dramatic, season-long fight with Hamilton, and his 2022 title challenge, though won in dominant fashion, was aided by poor reliability and driver error from Ferrari. Seven-time World Champion Hamilton won six of his titles between 2014 and 2020, at a time when his Mercedes was often the class of the field. Himself a double World Champion in 2005 and 2006, Alonso implied that Hamilton's multiple title wins were devalued by a relative lack of competition. "I have a lot of respect for Lewis, but still it is different when you win seven world titles when you only had to fight with your teammate," Alonso had told De Telegraaf . "Then I think a championship has less value than when you have fewer titles but have had to fight against other drivers with equal or even better material. "In 2005 and 2006, I had a good start to the year myself and was able to create a lead. Then others might have had a better car, but I was able to manage that gap. "I never had to fight with my teammate to win those titles. Nor did I see Max fighting with [Sergio] Perez or [Alex] Albon to win races. "But [Michael] Schumacher in particular fought with his teammate to become champion five times in a row and Hamilton fought with [Nico] Rosberg and [Valtteri] Bottas. That's different, I think."
👍🏾 pic.twitter.com/8L8W5j0gld — Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 30, 2022
Hamilton's apparent riposte
In an apparent riposte to Alonso's comments, Hamilton posted a photo on his Twitter account showing himself on the top step of the 2007 United States Grand Prix podium and Alonso below him in second place, accompanied by a thumbs-up emoji. Hamilton and Alonso had a notoriously tempestuous relationship during their one season as F1 teammates at McLaren that year. Having only just graduated to F1, Hamilton was expected to play a supporting role to Alonso, who was then the reigning World Champion. Against all expectations, it was Hamilton who led the championship standings for much of the season, but with the two drivers taking points off each other as they duelled for the title, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen stole in at the last race to snatch the crown by a single point from both Hamilton and Alonso. By the end of the year, relations between Alonso and McLaren had soured to the extent that the Spaniard left the team just 12 months into a three-year deal. Though he came close in 2010 and 2012, Alonso has not won the F1 Drivers' Championship since 2006.