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Alonso: 'Hamilton still my strongest opponent'
Thursday 17th January 2013, 14:21 by Ryan Wood
Fernando Alonso still believes Lewis Hamilton remains his strongest opponent in 2013, despite Sebastian Vettel having secured a third consecutive title.
The Spaniard, who teamed up with Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 where the pair scored the same amount of points, is adamant that the 2008 champion is the one to watch despite his move to Mercedes.
"I do not know who will be my main opponent for this season, he who has the best team, with the best year in terms of preparation, luck, testing, all of these factors," Alonso said during a media conference at Wrooom on Thursday.
"But as for my strongest opponent, who is [the] strongest driver? My answer is Hamilton. It was true last year, it was true this year.
"The strongest driver? It is a personal opinion, not political, not to make people think something. Who is the strongest opponent, the strongest driver on grid? Who is the one you have to keep an eye on? It is Hamilton - and it will still be Hamilton next year."
Alonso added that he thinks it unlikely that Hamilton won't win races with Mercedes this season.
"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.
"Last year also Nico [Rosberg] we saw winning in China with Mercedes. So with Hamilton he will be able to win more than one race."
Asked why he didn't think Vettel was the strongest, he replied: "I am not saying he is not the strongest driver.
"In 2011, there was a fantastic performance from him. It is true the car was much in front of everybody, they [Red Bull] were first and second consistently, and when the car is good you tend to relax in some races.
"But I remember difficult races in 2011 with wet/dry conditions, and he did not do a single mistake. So for sure in these three years there were moments when he was better than anybody else and he deserved these three championships."