F1: Lewis Hamilton is one of the all-time best drivers, says Fernando Alonso
Mercedes ace aims to match ‘Godfather’ Fangio, and Perez extends Force India stay
2018 United States Grand Prix
- When: Sunday 21 October
- Where: Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas
- Race start time: 7.10pm on Sunday (UK time)
- TV coverage: live on Sky Sports and Channel 4
Fernando Alonso rates his former McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton as one of the best drivers in Formula 1 history.
Mercedes star Hamilton is on the verge of winning the 2018 championship and can seal the title this weekend at the United States Grand Prix.
The Brit will win his fifth F1 world title should he outscore Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by eight points or more in Austin on Sunday.
Quoted by the BBC, two-time title winner Alonso said Hamilton is in his top five drivers of all-time alongside Michael Schumacher, Juan Manuel Fangio, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
“It is difficult to compare different times and different ways to win those championships,” said Alonso, who raced with Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 and will retire from F1 at the end of the season.
“Lewis probably winning five now, same as Fangio, it is a great achievement, and if one [driver] had to do it in our generation, I am happy it is him.
“He showed the talent and commitment,” said the Spaniard. “When the car was dominating he won and when it wasn’t he still put in performances to show his talent. That is difficult to see these days. I am happy for him because he showed the talent from day one.”
Matching the ‘Godfather’
Should Hamilton win the 2018 title he will join Argentine legend Fangio as a five-time F1 champion.
Fangio won the title in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957 and is second on the all-time list behind Germany’s Schumacher, who won seven championships.
Victory will move Hamilton to joint second with Fangio and pull one clear of Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost, who have four title wins each.
“Fangio is the Godfather of the sport for us,” said Hamilton. “He’s one of the greats from the beginning. It’s crazy for me to think that I am embarking on a similar number of championships that he had.”
While Hamilton dreams of emulating Fangio, Sky Sports reports that the 33-year-old is keeping grounded ahead of potential title celebrations in the US.
“It just feels like another race weekend we have, and we want to win, so it’s a simple goal for us, we just arrive to try and do the same thing,” said Hamilton.
“As a team we are focused on making sure we deliver. We can’t be complacent, we can’t be relaxed. We expect Ferrari to punch back hard this weekend. We have to raise the bar again. It’s going to be wet this weekend, so it’s going to be tricky. Nothing is a given.”
Perez signs new Force India deal
Mexican driver Sergio Perez will continue to race for Force India in 2019, the F1 team has confirmed.
Perez has been with Force India since 2014 and this season is currently seventh in the drivers’ standings.
“I’m pleased that Sergio will continue his journey with us in 2019,” Force India team principal Otmar Szafnauer told F1.com.
“Over the last five years, Sergio has confirmed his position as one of the most talented and consistent drivers on the Formula 1 grid.
“He gives us valuable stability going forward and is a huge asset to the team. As we begin an exciting new chapter in the life of this team, we are delighted that Sergio will race with us going forward.”
Perez added: “I am very happy to finally announce my future and I’m really motivated for 2019. Force India has been my home since 2014 and has allowed me to grow as a driver and show my skills on track.
“We have achieved so much success in the last five seasons but I think the best is yet to come. The new investment the team is enjoying fills me with confidence and I am really excited about the future.”
While Perez’s teammate for 2019 is yet to be confirmed, it is expected that Williams driver Lance Stroll will move to Force India after his father led the buy-out of the team in August.