Alonso saw no reason for Hamilton to retire from F1: “Right now, no one’s faster than him”

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Photo credit: Aston Martin F1 Team

Heading into the Italian Grand Prix Mercedes announced that George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will be driving the Silver Arrows at least until 2025.

A two-year contract extension that means Hamilton will continue driving in Formula 1 when entering his forties. Much like his former teammate back in their McLaren days, Fernando Alonso.

After a world championship and a long career in F1 that saw him return to Woking in 2015, the Spaniard retired from the circus three years later, only to make a comeback driving for Alpine in 2021.

This year the 42-year-old started a new chapter taking Sebastian Vettel’s former seat at Aston Martin. Quite a good season so far that saw him step on the podium seven times to date and being consistently faster than his younger teammate Lance Stroll.

Then what does he think about Mercedes’ decision to keep Hamilton beyond his thirties?

“I think they chose the lap time, as it has always been chosen in motorsport. I’ve never seen a Rally team, Moto GP or F1 team choosing the slowest driver. It keeps being like that,” he told media in Monza.

“If I was a team principal right now and I needed to choose between Hamilton or the youngest driver in the grid or a promising F2 driver, I’d stay with Hamilton until he is 80 years old, until someone comes and shows me that he is faster than Hamilton.”

What matters, then, is speed and personal choices. Alonso argues that things become different when other priorities enter a driver’s life, it isn’t so easy to work well with such a demanding and travel-packed lifestyle. Something that definitely played a huge role in Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen’s choices to retire.

“As of today, no one has shown me that, so age is a problem if you see the discouragement or you see that you’re no longer giving your 100% of your performance and your focus and your worries are now things that aren’t F1,” he explained.

“Something that might happen due to your age, like traveling and the life we have. But in the case of Hamilton, who continues to perform at 100% and his only concern is F1 – as it might be my case as well – when someone faster comes [into F1], we’ll talk, but right now, no one’s faster than Hamilton.”

Not only being an experienced driver undoubtedly has its perks performance-wise, but also being a world champion translates into having more fans, he argues.

“This is what happens in most of the sports, in which they are a little bit more individual. Always the ones that have been world champions attract a larger audience,” commented Alonso.

“It’s true that it matches that the world champions are at the top [in the drivers’ championship], but as I say, as long as you’re encouraged, speed is what counts. And despite that we have more years or we’re older, we are still fast and that’s what the teams want.”