Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton shared a fierce rivalry when they were teammates at McLaren in 2007. Wikimedia Commons

It is no secret that there is no love lost between two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. Despite having spent nearly two decades together on the grid, the Spaniard boldly proclaimed that he does not see himself ever becoming friends with the Briton.

It may be remembered that Alonso won two back-to-back F1 Drivers' World Championship titles with the Renault team back in 2005 and 2006, ending Michael Schumacher and Ferrari's five-year dominance.

He signed with McLaren in 2007, and partnered up with Hamilton, who was then only a rookie. The teammates found each other to be their biggest rivals that season, a situation that resulted in a number of confrontations both on and off the track.

There was an espionage scandal and the two sides of the garage were often at odds throughout the season. The drivers were in open warfare, with each one resorting to dirty tricks to get the edge over the other. They were so evenly matched that they even finished level on 109 points in the championship, just a point behind eventual winner Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari.

In the end, their rivalry probably cost one of them the championship as they were too busy fighting each other instead of the Ferrari. Following that season, Alonso and McLaren decided to cut ties by mutual consent. Hamilton kept his seat and eventually won the title in 2008.

In the recently released DAZN documentary titled "Fernando Revealed", Alonso recalled the tension between himself and Hamilton: "We were in the same team, the same garage, we travelled together many times, we were in the meetings and we began to notice that there was this friction, there was tension, we were playing the World Cup and we were playing each race on Sunday."

He elaborated further, saying that Hamilton's attitude during team meetings affected how developmental decisions were made to benefit the British driver and not both cars. "You arrive at the team meeting and you are seeing his telemetry, his 'on board' cameras of the car and that, for example, his car goes a little ahead and when he speaks in the meeting he complains about the rear.

"Things like that so that the team did not take a direction or take a philosophy to develop the car that would be good for both of us, but rather each one was already looking for their own thing, to have that extra advantage, because we were very evenly matched."

Alonso added that there were a lot of factors that led to the breakdown of his relationship with Hamilton, including their age. He said: "We were young, immature, I was the first, and we had many clashes."

The two have since gone on to compete for many more years, and have had their fair share of clashes over the succeeding sixteen seasons. Despite now being much older and more mature, Alonso does not think that he and Hamilton will ever really be able to call each other friends. "Now there is another type of rivalry, I don't think we will be friends in the future or that we will ever have... I think we don't share many things. But it is true that in 2007 the rivalry rose to a higher level."

Since his debut season alongside Alonso at McLaren, Hamilton has enjoyed a massively successful run with Mercedes where he won six of his seven titles. However, he and the Mercedes team have failed to find an answer to Red Bull Racing's dominance in 2022 and 2023.

Incidentally, Alonso has enjoyed a more competitive Aston Martin in recent years, after staying in the midfield for a long time. This second wind allowed him to compete directly with Hamilton in 2023, somewhat reviving their rivalry. Alonso finished fourth in the driver standings last season, with Hamilton in third.