The Finn, who raced with him as a team, praises Lewis’ competitiveness, explaining how difficult it is for everyone to keep up with him: “Nico used every resource to beat him, Fernando made a mistake every choice after 2007”
Having Lewis Hamilton as a teammate in F1 can be decisive (negatively) for a career. Word of Heikki Kovalainen. The Finn shared the McLaren garage with the seven-time world champion for two years, from 2008 to 2009, but that was enough for him to understand how difficult it is to keep up with the Englishman from every point of view. And in an interview with TalkSport reveals how living with Hamilton has been devastating for the careers of two world champions: Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso.
Before Valtteri Bottas, the last illustrious victim in chronological order was Nico Rosberg. After four seasons together in Mercedes, the German won the world title in 2016, mocking his teammate by just 5 points. On paper a triumph. And instead it was the prelude to his retirement, dictated, according to Kovalainen, by the impossibility of holding up the comparison for long: “I think Nico had to use all the tools in his arsenal to be able to beat Lewis and this, sportingly speaking, almost killed him . He admitted it too, he couldn’t have done another season like this because otherwise he would have died “. However, Rosberg deserves credit for having found a flaw in Hamilton: “They didn’t get along and this was one of the reasons why the German was able to resist Lewis. Even the less beautiful things were part of the battle ”.
The situation was different for Fernando Alonso, the first teammate Hamilton met in his F1 career in 2007. The Spaniard had returned from two consecutive world championship triumphs, but after his experience in McLaren he could no longer find the same polish: ” Since the years of the two championships in Renault he has always made a mistake and, at times, I wonder if the cause was Hamilton’s surprising speed ”. Kovalainen continues: “If that was the main problem, then after the break with Dennis, there was nowhere else to go but back to Renault. But the French have never recovered ”.
Mental emptying, pressure, bad choices: even Kovalainen himself experienced something similar in the two years alongside Hamilton. He explains the 40-year-old Finn: “Lewis never perceived me as a threat. I ran out of energy, I couldn’t replicate his times or his races. It takes commitment and focus. Not everyone is able to maintain high levels “. George Russell, Hamilton’s new teammate, is warned: 2022 will not be an easy year at all.
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