Alonso: Superior Mercedes has 'a bigger basket' than others


Fernando Alonso says that racing against Mercedes in F1 is like playing basketball against a team that has "a bigger basket" than its rivals.

Mercedes' extraordinary run of seven consecutive world titles since 2014, or the advent of the hybrid era in F1, is being seriously challenged this season by Red Bull.

The Brackley squad still leads the Constructors' standings by eleven points with three races to go, but Lewis Hamilton still trails Max Verstappen in the Drivers' championship by 14 points.

However, there's an abyss behind the two front-runners, with F1's midfield excluded from race wins except when exceptional circumstances occur, as was the case for Alpine, Alonso's team, in Hungary where Esteban Ocon conquered his maiden Grand Prix win.

But on paper, Alonso believes that there is currently no possible way for his team to beat Mercedes on merit.

"As a driver, it’s like playing basketball and there’s one basket for you and one for the others," said the Spaniard, quoted by Speedweek.

"They score their points with a bigger basket and you have to score yours with a smaller one, so you always lose.

"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."

Alonso reckons that Formula 1 is the only sport in the world where an equal amount of preparation for drivers isn't met with an equal amount of opportunity.

"We are all as committed to the sport," he added. "We train a lot, we work in the simulator, we risk our lives every time. But we’re still one lap behind in every race, and we know before we even go to Qatar.

"It’s really the only sport in which something like this happens."

Lewis Hamilton showcased in spectacular fashion in Brazil his package's superiority. But Alonso was nevertheless astonished by the Briton's achievements last weekend, and especially in Sao Paulo's sprint event.

"I was surprised on Saturday," said the Alpine driver.

"I mean, I think we were all surprised that a driver has 25 penalty places on the grid in one weekend and still wins the race, but it is what it is."

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