Fernando Alonso picks who he fears most between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar

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Being the team-mate to an F1 title contender is no easy job – just ask Valtteri Bottas. The Finn has been partnered with Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for five years, but despite Toto Wolff’s continuous insistence that there is no driver hierarchy at the Silver Arrows, Bottas has consistently played second-fiddle to his British counterpart.

Max Verstappen’s team-mates at Red Bull haven’t had it easy either. The pressure was so high for Pierre Gasly that he lost his seat half-way through his first season there.

Alex Albon also failed to live up to expectations and was replaced by Sergio Perez for 2021.

The Mexican has fared slightly better and has been handed a new deal for next season, but Christian Horner will be hoping for more podiums going forward – Perez has managed only two so far, finishing third in France two weeks after winning in Azerbaijan.

Fernando Alonso knows all about the difficulties of competing with a team-mate, having endured a rocky relationship with Hamilton during their time together at McLaren in 2007.

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Despite that, the Spaniard has claimed Verstappen is the only racer he would not want to have to compete with at the same team.

He claimed the relationship the Dutchman has with Red Bull would make him harder to beat on the track, hinting he would rather be in George Russell’s shoes heading to compete with Hamilton at Mercedes rather than taking on the tough task Perez has in outshining his team-mate.

“At the moment, [Verstappen] is the only one that I will not be happy to maybe compete with,” Alonso told RacingNews365.

“I respect Max a lot. So, at the moment in the Red Bull environment with his team, with his experience there, I don’t think that many drivers can join Red Bull and beat Max.

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“If you took Max out of Red Bull, maybe you [would] have a better chance.”

Alonso took his praise of Verstappen further, claiming the Dutchman is the best racer in Formula 1 right now and backing him to wrestle the title away from Hamilton’s grip.

I think he is on top of the game at the moment, I consider him the best in the paddock right now,” the Spaniard said.

“His improvement was very noticeable in the first couple of years. He started already at a high level but, sometimes, making a few accidents here and there, maybe too much aggression in some of the movements and things like that.

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“Now, I think he reached a level of maturity that is very high and, with his natural speed, it becomes quite difficult to beat him now for any one.

“So I think he’s the favourite for this year and probably for the years to come.”

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