After defending the talents of world champion Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso now insists his teammate Felipe Massa is also a top driver.
Brazilian Massa has appeared to struggle alongside Ferrari’s highly rated lead driver in the last two seasons, but Spaniard Alonso insists the 30-year-old is on the pace.
“I do not have things easy with him (Massa), we are very close to each other,” Auto Bild Motorsport quotes him as saying.
“There is often only one tenth in it,” added Alonso. “He is one of the best teammates I have had. We work well together even though we have quite different styles of driving.”
Alonso also defended Michael Schumacher, and the seven time world champion’s decision to keep racing in formula one beyond his forthcoming 43rd birthday.
“For me he is and remains the best driver in F1 history and deserves respect. His records will probably never be matched.
“He still loves to drive and I understand that — those who criticise him do not. I enjoy racing against him and I’m sure that if he had a competitive car he would be able to win races,” said Alonso.
Former McLaren and Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger, however, does not rank Schumacher among F1’s top three of the moment, and indicated that he would leave Alonso out of his ideal team lineup.
“I would love to have Lewis (Hamilton) as number 1 in my team if I had one,” Berger, the former Toro Rosso co-owner, is quoted by The Sun newspaper.
“(Hamilton) together with Sebastian Vettel. Although maybe not, because that would not work, (it would) cause havoc!
“In my view, Seb, Alonso and Hamilton are the three best drivers out there. Vettel performs perfectly. Alonso suffers from minor mistakes, but he has not got a car on par with Seb’s.
“Lewis is the best at overtaking, but with a huge amount of risk. It’s usually 50-50 if it works or if he collides,” added Austrian Berger.