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Fernando Alonso: Lewis Hamilton is strongest driver on F1 grid

PUBLISHED: 15:47, 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 16:25, 17 January 2013 Fernando Alonso has tipped Lewis Hamilton to win races this season, despite his move from McLaren to Mercedes, and sees the British star as more the man to watch than triple champion Sebastian Vettel. Speaking to reporters on Thursday at Ferrari’s ‘Wrooom’ media event at the Dolomites ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, the Spaniard singled out his former McLaren team mate as the strongest rival.’Who is the strongest opponent, the strongest driver on the grid? Who is the one you have to keep an eye on? It is Hamilton – and it will still be Hamilton next year,’ he said. Respect: Fernando Alonso reckons Lewis Hamilton will be his main rival in 2013 and (below) with team-mate Felipe Massa MERCEDES SET LAUNCH DATE Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team will take the wraps off their 2013 car at Jerez on February 4. The F1W04 will be unveiled to the media in a low-key ceremony at the Spanish circuit, 24 hours before it turns a wheel in anger for the first time in the year’s opening pre-season test at the same venue. Hamilton joined Mercedes at the end of last season after ending his long association with McLaren, with whom he won the drivers’ world title in 2008. The Briton replaces seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, who has retired for a second time after three disappointing seasons with the German manufacturer. ‘I am sure he will be able to win. He is a super good driver because he won every year with any car. He won in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 they started around two seconds off the pace with the McLaren and Hamilton was able to win races. And it was the same in 2010.’Hamilton made his Formula One debut alongside Alonso at McLaren in 2007 and ended the season as overall runner-up, ahead of the double champion although tied on points, with four victories and podium finishes in his first nine races. The Briton remains the only team mate to have beaten Alonso over the course of a season. Hamilton has said he does not expect Mercedes to challenge for the championship this season and has also played down the chances of race wins before sweeping changes to the regulations in 2014. Alonso said it was too early to say who his main championship rival would be…

Posted by admin 17 January 2013

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