FERNANDO ALONSO: JOINING FERRARI WAS NOT LEWIS HAMILTON'S 'CHILDHOOD DREAM' – SOMETHING HAS CHANGED

Fernando Alonso has teased rival Lewis Hamilton for saying that driving for Ferrari was a “childhood dream” of his, joking that the British driver had “a different dream two months ago”.

But the Spaniard, speaking at the launch of Aston Martin’s new challenger on Monday, added that the seven-time world champion could turn the sleeping Italian giants into championship contenders when he moves to Maranello next year.

”[During the past few years] Ferrari had a very fast car and were fighting for big things,” said Alonso, who was team-mates with Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 and drove for Ferrari himself from 2010 until 2014. “Maybe Lewis can bring that extra to fight for the championship. The car is there.

“Even last year, with a very dominant Red Bull car, Ferrari were able to match the lap time and be faster than them in most of the qualifyings [towards the end of the season], so the car should be fast enough.”

Alonso had a bit of fun at Hamilton’s expense when talking about the Briton’s shock transfer, which took the sport completely by surprise when it was was confirmed two weeks ago, not least because Hamilton only signed a new two-year deal with Mercedes last summer.

Alonso joked that he was “a day late” catching up with the bombshell news as he was “busy training” that day, and added that he did not know the reasons for behind switch. “I don’t know the reasons behind,” he said. “I don’t know anything. I don’t know the story. I didn’t pay too much attention.”

But the Spaniard did cast doubt on Hamilton’s claim, which he made in a social media post after the official announcement, that driving for Ferrari had been a “childhood dream” of his.

“It was not his childhood dream 12 months ago, no?” Alonso said. “Or two months ago, I guess. It was a different dream.”

In Hamilton’s defence, he has consistently said throughout his career that he is a big Ferrari fan.

Hamilton’s move to Maranello next season has opened up a seat at Mercedes, with Alonso one of the names linked with it. The Spaniard, who turns 43 this summer, denied there had been any contact with Brackley so far and insisted his first priority was Aston Martin, noting that the new car “should be a good step forward”.

However, in the next breath, Alonso also observed that his Aston Martin contract was up at the end of this season, which put him in a strong negotiating position.

“I am aware of my situation, which is unique,” said the 2005 and 2006 world champion, who reckons he can carry on in Formula One “for a few more years”.

“There are only three world champions on the grid, and fast world champions, because in the past maybe there were some champions who were maybe not so committed to be fast. And I am probably the only one available for 2025. So I am in a good position.

“But at the same time, when I make the decision whether I want to keep racing in the future, the first and only talk I will have in the beginning will be with Aston Martin. That will be my only priority.

“But if we cannot reach an agreement and I want to commit to race in F1, I know I have a privileged position. I am probably attractive to other teams, the performance they saw last year, the commitment.”

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2024-02-12T11:37:41Z dg43tfdfdgfd