Fernando Alonso has told Lewis Hamilton that it is the "nature of the sport" to struggle after dominating for so many seasons. The Spaniard welcomed the seven-time world champion to his world of fighting in the midfield after getting used to battling for race wins on a regular basis.

The reigning Constructors' champions have struggled in the new era of Formula 1 with the Mercedes car trailing title contenders Red Bull Racing and Ferrari. The Silver Arrows are struggling with a number of issues, and are unable to match the pace of the frontrunners.

Hamilton is sixth in the Drivers' championship after five races, and trails leader Charles Leclerc by 68 points. The Briton is even behind teammate George Russell after finishing outside the points in two of the five races as he struggles to get to grips with the 2022 Mercedes car.

"This is the nature of the sport," Alonso told BBC Sport. "Sometimes you have a better car, sometimes you have not such a good car and you still need to fight and make some progress."

"Lewis is driving as good as he has been the last eight years. He was dominating the sport and breaking all the records and 100-and-something pole positions. And now he is doing a mega lap - as he said in Australia or somewhere like that - and he is one second behind. So, yeah - welcome."

Lewis Hamilton
Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth in his struggling Mercedes Paul Crock/AFP

Alonso also spoke about the need to have the perfect package in order to be able to challenge at the front on a consistent basis. The two-time world champion feels, while the driver gets all the plaudits, he cannot do it without the support of his team and their ability to provide a competitive car.

Hamilton has had the most dominant car on the grid for the last eighth seasons prior to 2022 - winning six of the eight Drivers' championship titles. According to Alonso, the need for a good package will now come to the fore as the British racer fights for positions in the midfield.

"This is F1," he added. "It is not going to be a fair sport in terms of numbers. This is a team sport more than anything and we tend to forget this, especially when we have success. We are so happy for what we are achieving that even if we try to share with the team, all the headlines are for the driver."

"He deserves everything he's achieved in the past but this year is a good reminder that in all those records and numbers there is a big part on what you have in your hands as a package in the car."

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso wins the World Championship in 2005 with Renault