It seemed like a bit of sour grapes on the part of Fernando Alonso, who continued his trend of downplaying Lewis Hamilton's achievements after the Mercedes driver's blistering drive to win the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday. The Alpine Racing driver simply stated that it was only possible because the Briton's car was far superior to the rest of the grid, which is not very far from the truth, but his statement was challenged by Ferrari ace Charles Leclerc.

Hamilton was disqualified from Friday's qualifying session after a minor DRS infringement on his Mercedes car, which saw him start at the back of the grid for Saturday's sprint race. The British racer put on a driving masterclass as he blitzed his way through the field to finish fifth in the 24 lap race.

The seven-time world champion then took his five place grid penalty for an engine change during Sunday's main race and started in 10th. He needed to ensure he kept out of trouble in the first turn if he wanted to challenge title rival Max Verstappen, who started second on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton
Home comfort: Lewis Hamilton celebrates after finishing first in Friday qualifying at Silverstone LARS BARON/POOL

Hamilton again put on a show in front of a raucous crowd at the Interlagos circuit, which saw him climb up to second place in just 19 laps. He made light work of the Ferraris and the Red Bull of Sergio Perez along the way.

The 36-year-old would eventually go on to comfortably win the race, and his performance was hailed as one of his greatest, not only by experts but also former and current drivers. However, Alonso did not seem to share the same sentiment with the Spaniard going onto suggest anyone could have done that in the Mercedes, and it was not the first time he has said it.

"As a driver, it's like playing basketball and there's one basket for you and one for the others," Alonso said, as quoted by the Daily Express. "They (Mercedes) score their points with a bigger basket and you have to score yours with a smaller one. So you always lose."

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso has agreed a new long-term deal with McLaren Getty

"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," the two-time F1 champion added.

Leclerc, however, was quick to jump to Hamilton's defence, suggesting that the Briton make it clear that he deserves all the plaudits coming his way. The Ferrari driver, who finished in P5, feels it was Hamilton's talent that got more out of the car than it could give.

"I don't agree," Leclerc said. "Obviously Lewis has a very strong car at the moment, but I think he managed to go beyond what that car could give."

The battle for the 2021 F1 title resumes when the F1 juggernaut arrives in Qatar this weekend. Hamilton trails Verstappen by 14 points with three races remaining in the campaign with Mercedes again expected to enjoy a significant straight line speed advantage over Red Bull Racing.

Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen is likely to increase his 12-point lead in the next two F1 races Zak Mauger/POOL