Fernando Alonso hails Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen duel
Two-time champion impressed by what he saw on TV between 2019's star performers; VOTE: What's best race in F1's epic run?
By James Galloway and Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 05/08/19 12:02pm
Fernando Alonso hailed Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen's absorbing duel in the Hungarian GP, as the sport served up its fourth thrilling race on the spin.
The two-time world champion, watching on as an F1 spectator this year for the first time since 2000 after leaving the sport at the end of last season, tweeted his admiration for the breathless battle for victory in Budapest between this season's two star drivers:
The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers broke clear from the pack almost immediately in Sunday's race and became locked in an increasingly close and tough-to-call battle for victory.
Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc, who finished third and fourth, were the only drivers not to be lapped, although even they finished more than a minute adrift of Hamilton in the ultimate two-horse race.
Mercedes eventually turned the race in their favour they pitted Hamilton for fresh tyres with 22 laps to go. Although it put the world champion 20 seconds behind the Red Bull, Hamilton swiftly raced back and sealed victory with a pass on Verstappen with four laps to go around the outside into Turn One.
"The moment Lewis sniffed the possibility, there was no holding back," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
"I think in order to dominate such an era, I think the team needs to come together on this journey and create something special. And it doesn't go without every single member of the team. But it certainly doesn't go without the right guy in the car. His driving today was a different dimension to me.
"You could see that this was two great drivers with a lot of respect for each other because only if you have respect can you go through a corner 180mph next to each other. It was an unbelievable drive. We knew the moment he would see him, that would be enough."
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Sky F1's pundits expressed similar admiration to Alonso for the contest between the sport's established and rising star - and the stunning sequence of unpredictable races which have put F1 on a huge high heading into its summer break.
"That's four in a row that has kept us on the edge of our seat," said Paul Di Resta after Hungary followed on from constant excitement in Austria, Britain and Germany.
Damon Hil, the 1996 world champion, added: "This is the changing of the guard. You've got the young guy, Max Verstappen, and the guy who has dominated Formula 1 - and still dominating in Lewis Hamilton.
"Lewis is showing Max what he will do and Max knows he's up against a formidable competitor."
Hill added: "We needed Red Bull to up their game and they have slowly incrementally made progress this season. They clearly seem happy that Honda have made progress, something has gelled in that team and they are able to make the fight to Mercedes.
"Let's be honest, that's not something Ferrari have been able to do yet."