“He was just playing catch up after that”– Fernando Alonso never recovered from being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

Tanish Chachra
|Published April 07, 2022

Former Mclaren driver Heikki Kovalainen believes that Fernando Alonso never recovered from being a teammate of Lewis Hamilton.

In 2007, F1 was introduced with a dynamic duo at McLaren. The two-time world champion was paired with the sensational rookie Lewis Hamilton.

However, things didn’t go well with the partnership, and they had a conflict that McLaren found hard to solve. A year later, Alonso walked away from the Woking-based team.

Alonso was replaced by Heikki Kovalainen, who was in no way a suitable replacement. But the Finnish race driver claims that his predecessor after that 2007 never recovered from being a teammate of Hamilton.

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“Since [Alonso’s] championship years with Renault he’s always made the wrong move and just sometimes I wonder if the trigger was the surprise of Hamilton’s speed,” Kovalainen told talkSPORT.

“If that is the core issue, then the falling out with [McLaren boss] Ron Dennis and with the team followed and there wasn’t any other place to go, Renault was kind of on a downward slope, he was just playing catch up after that and that never really recovered.”

Also read: Lewis Hamilton will be last year’s Max Verstappen against the current world champion in 2022

It’s hard to fight against Lewis Hamilton

Kovalainen himself partnered with two years at McLaren. Over that period, he hardly ever managed to outclass Hamilton. After that, the two never got to team with each other. Thus, the Finnish driver sympathisers with Alonso and admits it’s tough to compete with Hamilton in the same car.

“Occasionally, I could match him, but I had to stretch every session to match him over the entire season. You can only do so much stretching, and then you run out of energy, which was the case with me.

“I didn’t have enough margin in my capacity to do the times and the races that he did, so it was not easy. His level of performance is so high that even for super talents like Max [Verstappen] it requires a lot of effort, a lot of focus, a lot of energy.”

“So it’s not going to be easy, not everyone can handle that, it’s as simple as that.”

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About the author

Tanish Chachra

Tanish Chachra

Tanish Chachra is the Motorsport editor at The SportsRush. He saw his first race when F1 visited India in 2011, and since then, his romance with the sport has been seasonal until he took up this role in 2020. Reigniting F1's coverage on this site, Tanish has fallen in love with the sport all over again. He loves Kimi Raikkonen and sees a future world champion in Oscar Piastri. Away from us, he loves to snuggle inside his books.

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