Hamilton and Verstappen ‘would be trumped’ by Alonso if on same team

Sky Sports pundit Naomi Schiff has suggested that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen would both be trumped by Fernando Alonso if they were all to compete in the same F1 car. The Spaniard made a barnstorming start to the new season last weekend by picking up third place in Bahrain.

With Aston Martin making significant strides in the off-season, Alonso notched just his second F1 podium since 2014 with a stunning race in Sakhir. The 41-year-old is one of the most decorated drivers of all time, with 32 Grand Prix wins and two world titles, although most of his success came well over a decade ago. 

Alonso could be one of the key players this season, although Verstappen reasserted his dominance by clinching the top spot in Bahrain. Hamilton, meanwhile, finished down in fifth with Mercedes faltering. 

Despite the Brit’s struggles since the start of last season, he, along with Verstappen, is seen as one of the finest drivers on the grid. Even so, Schiff feels that Alonso could leave both of them in the dust if he was given a title-chasing car. 

“Max is one of those [top] drivers,” she told the Sky Sports F1 vodcast. “So is Lewis, but I don’t know, as I’ve grown up, always looking up to Lewis and as much as I grew up on karting circuits with Max, knowing that Max would win everything, I think Fernando might just trump them in the sense that he’s so much more mature.

“He’s been in it for so long. I think even last year, we could see it in the Alpine and that there were moments that he was just extracting the absolute maximum out of their car. In an on track battle, he always gets the one up somehow, he just always knows exactly where to put his car. So in my ideal world, I’d love to see them all in one team and who comes out on top.

“When you’re on track, it’s a lot about demeanour and body language. And there are some drivers that you’ll have a clean battle with, there are some drivers you need to worry about and some drivers you need to be scared of. And I think Fernando is definitely one of those drivers that you have to give a lot of respect to.

“He’s the kind of the guy that you wouldn’t want to play chess with, because he’s always three steps ahead, and that’s just in everything he’s thinking about when he’s in the car. He knows where to put his car, he knows exactly where to make the moves, he knows exactly how to defend.

“He’s also just a very special driver. And I think every now and again, you get these kinds of drivers in all sorts of categories that just really stand out. And Fernando is most certainly one of those. So I just like to say I wouldn’t want to see Fernando coming up in my mirrors.”

Making use of Aston’s newfound speed, many have tipped Alonso to notch his first Grand Prix win since 2013 at some point this season. He will have another chance to mix it with the top dogs when drivers descend on Saudi Arabia ahead of next weekend’s race.

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