Alonso says Hamilton move was to be expected
4 October 2012 – Lewis Hamilton’s switch was McLaren was always going to come at some point. That is according to former team-mate and arch rival Fernando Alonso, who experienced an acrimonious year alongside the Englishman at the Woking team in 2007.
Prior to 2007, the Alonso-Hamilton-McLaren combination had been tipped to be one of the sport’s most successful line-ups. It is now remembered as one of the most bitter rivalries inside a single outfit that the world of sport has ever seen; it resulted in the Spaniard, then the reigning double World Champion, departing at the end of the year.
Speaking in Japan on Thursday, the current championship leader was not surprised by the fact that Hamilton will be joining the Mercedes works team next year.
“I think these kinds of things are normal – just a step in your career,” said Alonso, who has raced with Minardi and Renault as well as McLaren and Ferrari. “I think it’s a good thing for Lewis that he has moved on and for McLaren – well, Prost went out, then Senna, then it was me and now it is Lewis. Normally it’s for a better life, a good change. McLaren have gone for 14 years without winning the Constructors’ Championship and in most of those years they’ve had the best car…and I’m sure Lewis wants to win again as well.
“I think he did great at McLaren; he won a World Championship and he won races, he is still considered one of the best drivers and I think he’ll now enjoy it more next year. He should be very competitive again and he should be a championship contender from next year; plus, with Mercedes and Ross Brawn, they have a lot of potential and so will be very strong.”
McLaren’s last teams’ title came under the jurisdiction of Ron Dennis, Adrian Newey, Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard and was sealed at Suzuka in 1998.