Lewis Hamilton has reacted to his old rival Fernando Alonso questioning the value of some of his championships.
The Spaniard said in an interview with the Netherlands’ Telegraaf this week that a championship has “less value when you’ve only had to fight with your team-mate”.
Hamilton then posted a picture on social media from 2007, when he and Alonso were McLaren team-mates, with him on top of a podium and Alonso second.
The seven-time champion posted a thumbs up symbol with the photograph.
Alonso had tried to reduce the impact of his comments with a post on Twitter on Saturday.
He wrote: “Please, all the titles are amazing, well deserved and inspiring. Incomparable to each other and let’s enjoy champions and legends of our current time.
“Tired of the continuous search for headlines. Let’s enjoy them.”
Hamilton made his debut in F1 in 2007 and he and Alonso staged a close and sometimes bitter fight. Both ended up losing out to Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen by a single point.
At the end of the season, Hamilton and Alonso were tied on points and both had four wins, but Hamilton was declared ahead in the championship by virtue of having more second places.
Hamilton’s Twitter post was a response to the social media reaction to Alonso’s interview, in which he compared his own two world titles in 2005 and 2006 with those of Max Verstappen this year and last, against Hamilton’s record-equalling seven.
Alonso said: “This year Max is very dominant and at some point he was able to cruise to the world title. Last season it was different. I thought he outperformed Lewis in the end and I think he is a worthy champion.
“I also have a lot of respect for Lewis. Still, it’s different when you win seven world titles, when you’ve only had to fight with your team-mate.
“Then I think that a championship has less value than if you have fewer titles but you have had to compete against other drivers with equal or even better material.
“In 2005 and 2006, I had a good start to the year and I was able to create a lead. Then others may have had a better car, but I was able to manage that gap.
“I never had to fight with my team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella to win the title. I also didn’t see Max fight Sergio Perez or Alex Albon to win races.
“But [Michael] Schumacher mainly fought with his team-mate Rubens Barrichello to become champion five times in a row and Hamilton with Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas. That’s different, I think.”
Alonso’s comments are a questionable interpretation of some of the titles won by Schumacher and Hamilton.
Schumacher and Ferrari dominated in 2001, 2002 and 2004 and the German driver had only his team-mate to beat, but in 2003 he had a close fight with McLaren’s Raikkonen and Williams’ Juan Pablo Montoya.
And while it is a fair comment to say Mercedes were unbeatable from 2014 to 2016 and in 2019-20, in 2017 and 2018 the Ferrari was arguably the quicker car for the majority of both seasons.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel’s led the championship for much of both of those years, only for his title campaign to be undermined by mistakes from both driver and team, as well as problems with reliability and losing the development war late in the year.