Alpine F1 driver Fernando Alonso has come to the defence of former McLaren team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton, maintaining that his struggles at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix were not all his fault.
Mercedes have had an onerous task addressing the multitude of issues caused by the new technical regulations this season as “porpoising,” tyre warmup, handling and power continue to be a thorn in their side.
They introduced an aerodynamic upgrade that they thought might assist them in their quest to eliminate the bouncing but, if anything, it was even more aggressive in Imola.
The result was Hamilton failing to finish in the top 10 in all but one of the sessions throughout the weekend in Bologna, and he was out-performed in all of them by team-mate George Russell.
The 24-year-old put in a stupendous performance in the race to finish P4, while Hamilton got stuck for most of the afternoon behind Pierre Gasly, leaving him P13 at the end of a weekend “to forget” for the seven-time champion.
Notoriously, Alonso did not have the best of relationships with the Briton during their season together at McLaren in 2007, so with perhaps a little insincerity, the 40-year-old suggested that Hamilton is now discovering how it feels to have a largely uncompetitive car.
“It’s Formula 1. It has been like this always,” he said, as quoted by RacingNews365.com.
“When [Ayrton] Senna won the championships and the races, he had the fastest car. When I won the championship, I had the fastest car. Michael [Schumacher] had the fastest car. Lewis broke all the records and pole positions because he had the fastest car.”
It is no secret that, as phenomenal as Hamilton is – his seven titles and 103 race wins are plenty testament to that – there is only so much even he can do with an ineffective car.
“Today, Lewis is driving super well and he’s P13. It’s Formula 1,” he added.
The new technical regulations that have hampered the Silver Arrows this season were designed to improve the racing spectacle and ultimately bring the teams closer together.
Former Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle said ahead of the season that, at least initially, the introduction of the ground effect aerodynamic would “scatter” the pack, and Alonso affirms that it is still virtually impossible for a team like Alpine to compete with the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull.
“There is no race at the moment,” he stated.
“It is like fighting with Lewis last year, or Verstappen. They start last and they finished on the podium still, so there is not much to fight.”
Alonso himself has suffered plenty of misfortune in 2022, retiring from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when he was set for points, before an oil seal failure and an ill-timed Safety Car cost him pole and possibly a shot at the podium in Melbourne.
He was forced to retire from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix early on after contact with Mick Schumacher, and all-told, he reckons he should have “25 or 30” points as opposed to the two points he has scored so far this year.