Fernando Alonso’s first question to Ron Dennis before Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren adds fresh layer to complex rivalry

There appears to be a fresh layer that has been revealed by Ron Dennis over the rivalry between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton when the Stevenage-born driver made his F1 entry with McLaren.

Although Hamilton showed in his first season itself that he was ready to compete amongst the best, Dennis has revealed that the first question Alonso asked Dennis following the acquisition of Hamilton was whether they would be in a position to win both drivers’ and constructors’ titles.

Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Credit: planetf1.com
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Credit: planetf1.com

Crash.net has quoted Dennis as saying: “It was very simple – Alonso didn’t expect Hamilton to be that competitive in his first year. He told me at the beginning that it was my decision to sign a rookie like Hamilton, but that it could cost me the constructors’ championship.”

Dennis explains how Alonso was accounting for everything except the fact that Hamilton could usurp him in his debut season.

Alonso’s question in itself shows that the Spaniard felt he was the one destined to win the world championship and was only wondering how competitive his teammate would be.

This lack of faith in his teammate’s ability may have given Alonso a sharp reality check when Hamilton started matching his pace from the word go.

As both McLaren drivers went hard for the win, it often ended up costing the team and favouring rivals Ferrari.

Eventually, both Hamilton and Alonso finished on equal points, missing out on the world championship to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.

As far as the constructors’ title was concerned, McLaren was disqualified altogether owing to the Spygate controversy.

While the relationship between Hamilton and Alonso was frosty back then, they seem to be on cordial terms in recent years.

They are not the best of friends even now, but do respect each other for their achievements on the track.

During his 300th Grand Prix last year, Hamilton admitted that Alonso had been his most formidable competitor over the years.

“I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22, you know, I was so young mentally and of course, OK in terms of skill,” Hamilton said.

“But it’s a lot of pressure to go up against a great like him.” 

Alonso was part of the same interview. He spoke about how Hamilton had coupled hard work with his irrefutable talent to make a memorable career and a modern-day F1 legend.

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