Lewis Hamilton says the most resilient opponent that he has faced during his career on “pure pace” is former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso.
This weekend, Hamilton will enter his 300th grand prix event, becoming just the sixth driver in F1 history to reach the milestone.
Hamilton made his F1 debut in 2007, joining McLaren alongside Fernando Alonso, who had just come off the back of consecutive World Championships in 2005 and 2006.
The Briton spent six seasons at McLaren before moving to Mercedes in 2013, where he has enjoyed a majority of his success.
When asked in France who the toughest opponent he faced during his career was, he replied: “I think it’s difficult to say who has necessarily been my strongest competitor, because every time you’re with someone you’re in a different place of your life.
“I remember the task of being alongside Fernando when I was 22, you know, I was so young mentally and of course – OK in terms of skill – but it’s a lot of pressure to go up against a great like him.
“So I would say out of pure pace, I think I would say it’s Fernando, and ability. We had some good battles, I wish we could have more.
“Hopefully he will continue to race, and hopefully we will have more in the future.”
Alonso, who was present with Hamilton in the press conference room at the time, hailed his former team-mate’s success in F1.
“I don’t think he changed much [since 2007] to be honest,” he said. “He had the talent already in 2007 and he still has the talent now, with experience.
“He has been a tremendous driver and a legend of our sport. So it has been always a pleasure to share all this time with him and back then, probably, no one thought someone will be able to win seven titles as Michael [Schumacher did].
“But yes, the journey has been amazing and the team that they all built in Mercedes over these years, it was outstanding.
“Congratulations for the 300th and hopefully another win soon.”