The assessment of Formula 1 world champions is often subjective, taking into account various factors like the quality of the car they used to win their championships. This is why the idea of “equal machinery” is commonly discussed in these debates. A noteworthy example occurred in 2007 when newcomer Lewis Hamilton surpassed two-time world champion Fernando Alonso while both were driving identical cars. F1 experienced professional Peter Windsor has a theory that offers an explanation for Hamilton’s superior performance compared to his teammate.
In a recent YouTube video, Windsor talked about the characteristic of taking short corners in two drivers: Hamilton and two-time champion Mika Hakkinen. Windsor states that both Hamilton and Hakkinen displayed this characteristic, which made them equally skilled in terms of racing ability and speed. Even Max Verstappen also possesses this characteristic, as mentioned in a previous video. Windsor suggests that this trait made both Hamilton and Hakkinen faster than Alonso.
Windsor gave his professional viewpoint, saying, “I believe they are almost evenly matched. Lewis takes shorter corners compared to Mika. However, Mika’s driving style is more centered. So, overall, I would say Lewis has a slight advantage over Mika, assuming they have the same cars.” He highlighted the small differences between the two drivers, noting, “But they are very close in performance.” Nonetheless, Windsor also found it important to compare Hamilton to his previous teammate, Alonso. He remarked, “Yes, both of them are faster than Alonso, in my opinion.”
This clarifies the reason behind Max Verstappen’s superiority over his teammate and why Hamilton had a slight advantage over Alonso. Nevertheless, there were additional factors that contributed to Hamilton’s victory over Alonso.
It is evident that Hamilton had the upper hand over Alonso even in his rookie season for two reasons. Firstly, Hamilton joined a championship-winning team and had a car capable of winning the championship. However, it was not solely the car that allowed Hamilton to dominate his McLaren teammate. According to Windsor, Hamilton demonstrated incredible pace that Alonso could not match during his rookie season.
Windsor expressed his understanding of how drivers can go unnoticed until they have the opportunity to drive a winning car. He mentioned McLaren as an example, where Hamilton impressed everyone, including Fernando Alonso, with his immediate speed and superior performance in certain aspects like high-speed braking, during his first season with the team.
During his first year in Formula 1, Alonso faced difficulties in keeping up with Hamilton’s superior abilities in high-speed braking and quick cornering, although he now occasionally showcases his own impressive moves against him.
To sum up, Lewis Hamilton is regarded as a faster Formula 1 driver compared to Fernando Alonso because they both possess a particular skill: excelling in short corners. Hamilton’s impressive speed and expertise in high-speed braking further contributed to his superior performance, surpassing Alonso even during his first year in the sport.