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Hamilton: Vettel like Mansell – only not quite as good

In a comment that is sure to generate debate, Lewis Hamilton has compared himself and Fernando Alonso to a modern-day Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. And Sebastian Vettel? A poor man's Nigel Mansell...
Following the curtain-raising outing of the new campaign, 2008 F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has offered an assessment of his closest rivals, describing his former team-mate Fernando Alonso as the Alain Prost to his Ayrton Senna, and witheringly likening reigning title-winner Sebastian Vettel to British hero Nigel Mansell – only not quite as good.

Hamilton finished as runner-up to Vettel in the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne last weekend, and the common paddock consensus is that after so thoroughly dominating proceedings Down Under, the Red Bull Racing star is the hot favourite to defend his drivers' crown this year. The McLaren ace disagrees.

Harkening back to what was unquestionably the most successful and simultaneously destructive relationship in the Woking-based outfit's history – that between F1 legends Senna and Prost in the late 1980s – Hamilton suggests he and Alonso could just be the modern-day equivalents.

The pair were team-mates themselves at McLaren, of course, in 2007, and whilst relations between them never truly degenerated into the kind of bitter all-out warfare that characterised their predecessors' partnership, the then F1 rookie unsettled the double world champion to such an extent as to drive Alonso away from the team come season's end, two years before the Spaniard's contract was up for renewal.

“I don't think so,” Hamilton told The Guardian, when asked if Vettel is his new 'nemesis' in the sport. “If he continues to have a car like he does now, then maybe, but I think when we get equal pace we will see some serious racing. Maybe he is the new Mansell? Not that I would rate him like I do Mansell.

“I think my nemesis and my closest rival will always be Fernando, just because of my history, when I started out. I see him as my Prost, if we were Prost and Senna. If you were to say 'choose a driver' [that I would like to be], I would clearly choose Ayrton. And maybe I would put him as Prost.”

The Briton's put-down of Vettel – the man who in Abu Dhabi last November supplanted him as the youngest-ever F1 World Champion – only rubs salt into the wounds for Red Bull, a team he scathingly labelled in the build-up to Melbourne as merely 'a drinks company' with no real heritage in the sport, unlike McLaren or Ferrari.

Shifting his attentions towards the forthcoming Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, meanwhile, Hamilton is bullish about his prospects of really turning up the wick on RBR and taming the runaway RB7, lauding what he contends to be McLaren's superior in-season development pace and pointing to his expert nursing of his tyres at Albert Park, defying the critics who warn that his aggression behind the wheel will count against him in the new Pirelli era. Following a winter of discontent, he is, he insists, firmly back in the hunt.

“I think our pace was very, very good,” the 26-year-old reflected of his Australian performance. “Everyone always says that I have a very aggressive driving style, but I proved that is not the case. I looked after my tyres even better than the guy next to me (Vettel), and I think I was able to attack.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Nigel Mansell (GB), Canon Williams Team, 1992 Formula One World Championship
27.03.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
27.03.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
27.03.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner
27.03.2011- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7 race winner and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 2nd position
1990 Formula One World Championship.Alain Prost (F), Scuderia Ferrari SpA 641.French Grand Prix, Paul Ricard, 8th July 1990.
Ayrton Senna (BR), Honda Marlboro McLaren, celebrates his first win of his home Grand Prix in Brazil. Brazilian Grand Prix, 24/03/1991, Interlagos, Brazil.
Ayrton Senna (BR) and Alain Prost (FR), Honda Marlboro McLaren. Team-mates and intense rivals. San Marino Grand Prix, 01/05/1988, Imola, Italy
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, 2007 Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/22, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MP4/22, Australian F1 Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, 16-18/3/ 2007,
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F10, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 3rd position and Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 race winner
Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
Lando Norris, McLaren, Honda [Credit: McLaren F1]
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Lewis Hamilton and The Stig
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Singapore Grand Prix

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dave calton - Unregistered

March 29, 2011 11:43 AM

Who dose hamilton think he is, he will never be a patch on Ayrton Senna,what an arrogant ****,he is only where he is because he had a sugar daddy, Ron Dennis, unlike all the other drivers on the grid who started with lower teams and served their time learning their trade, not being put straight into a top car, like hamilton.

cris - Unregistered

March 29, 2011 11:47 AM

wtf? he is comparing himself to Senna? the color of the helmet maybe? just let the little boy play with himself.. he seem so fond of himself lately.

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