‘You always lose’ fighting against Mercedes in Formula 1, Fernando Alonso insists

Fernando Alonso has enjoyed a solid return to Formula One with Alpine this season.

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso says that every other team in the sport will “always lose” when facing off against Mercedes.

The German manufacturer has won every single title since the turbo-hybrid engine era began in 2014, and Lewis Hamilton’s stunning straight-line speed at the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend has left many in the paddock convinced that the team has made a significant step forward in pace as the title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen heats up again with three races remaining this season.

The 40-year-old Spaniard returned to the grid this season with the re-branded Renault-owned Alpine squad, the same outfit with which he won the championships he contested against Michael Schumacher back in 2005 and 2006. Alonso is enjoying a solid if unspectacular season, currently sitting tenth in the standings with a 12-point advantage over team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Alonso took a sabbatical from the sport at the end of 2018, having spent the previous six seasons languishing far behind Mercedes and unable to challenge for race wins in uncompetitive Ferrari and McLaren machinery.

Mercedes’ continued dominance still frustrates the 32-time race winner, who told German motorsport outlet Speedweek: “As a driver, it’s like playing basketball and there’s one basket for you and one for the others. They score their points with a bigger basket and you have to score yours with a smaller one, so you always lose.”

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Alonso knows what how it feels to drive the fastest machinery on the grid, having dominated in the Renault R25 and R26 cars in the V8 era, as well as winning the World Endurance Championship and taking two Le Mans 24 Hours victories with Toyota Gazoo Racing during his absence from F1. The Mercedes’ pace advantage in Brazil, though, which allowed Hamilton to move from 20th at the start of the sprint race to ultimately take victory in the race on Sunday, was too much for Alonso to accept.

“I am lucky to have won two championships and I was privileged to have been in that position. I was also at Toyota in the WEC and had that kind of superiority in the car. But I just imagine young children watching this sport and seeing one car pass two others in the straight line. We shouldn’t let them lose hope that they can be champions.

“We are all as committed to the sport. We train a lot, we work in the simulator, we risk our lives every time. But we’re still one lap behind [Mercedes] in every race, and we know before we even go to Qatar. It’s really the only sport in which something like this happens.”

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