Vettel admiring of Alonso but 'we've never had any chemistry'

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Sebastian Vettel admires Fernando Alonso as a competitor but admits to never having had much chemistry with the Spaniard away from the track.

Vettel, who is freshly retired from Formula 1, enjoyed over the years a good many battles with Alonso who was one of the German driver's toughest opponents during his championship winning years with Red Bull.

Between 2010 and 2013, Alonso finished three times runner up to the four-time world champion.

"I think I admire him as a competitor," Vettel told's Tom Clarkson on the latter's Beyond The Grid podcast.

"He's probably been the toughest one, especially in [those] first couple of years, and we had [such] close battles at the end of the championships, both in 2010 and then 2012, in particular, which is still probably one of my favorite moments/memories.

"Just the tension coming into the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, that morning, that build-up.

"I think that, for me, at least – I don't know for the people who were there, [they] were probably more relaxed – but for me, it was very intense, and I think both of us were very nervous."

Oddly, as closely as they fought out on the track and as significant as Alonso was as a rival, Vettel admits to not being well acquainted with his fellow two-time world champion.

"I rate Fernando really high as a driver," Vettel said.

"I think he has got so much natural talent, incredible determination, great racing instinct, and all of that he hasn't lost. You can see he loves his racing. He's very passionate.

"As a person, though, I don't know him, really. I wouldn't say we don't get along, I think we respect each other. But it's just never happened that we really got to know each other, spend time [together] or talk much outside racing."

Vettel suggested that the Spaniard and himself had perhaps lacked during their time together in F1 the polarizing on-track clashes or flashpoints that he had enjoyed with Lewis Hamilton - such as Baku in 2017 - and that brought him closer to the Briton.

"Maybe we didn't have that moment, like I had with Lewis, that brought us together," Vettel pondered.

"I think he's a great competitor, probably one of the most difficult I've ever had, because he's just always there and never backs off, but also very respectful when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing, [which] I've enjoyed so much.

"But, as a person, we probably don't have the best of relationships, because we just don't know each other so well."

Vettel reckons that another factor that has perhaps kept the two drivers naturally apart is their respective characters.

"Maybe we are too different," he suggested.

"We have racing as a common passion that excites us both, but then it just never happened that we, in all these years, really got to know each other.

"It's probably like in school or at work, you have a colleague that you respect but you don't really know.

"As much as I get on with Lewis and we have stuff to talk about and maybe some views that we share, with Fernando I might have these as well but we just never had the chemistry to really get into this.

"So I think, despite having the same big passion in our lives, we're probably two very different people."

Despite all, Vettel believes that his and Alonso's age – 35 and 41 respectively – and their status as F1 veterans should draw them naturally closer.

"I think we are maybe now, in terms of age, getting closer," said the former Aston Martin F1 driver.

"The gap's always been the same but, obviously, you could argue I'm closer to him than maybe to somebody who's coming in [at] 20 today.

"But [we are] probably just two different people and we are probably in a very different point in our lives, despite the fact that we've been racing each other for so long."

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