They may have been the best of enemies during their time together at McLaren, but there is no doubting the deep respect that Fernando Alonso
and Lewis Hamilton
have for each other's ability on track.
Not for the first time since they went their separate ways in 2008, the pair found themselves contesting the same piece of asphalt in the Canadian Grand Prix, twice appearing to make contact as they diced over second place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Alonso eventually won out, while Hamilton lost a piece of his front wing in the second brush, but both admitted that they had enjoyed the battle.
“I think it was the pace difference [between us] was very, very small,” the Spaniard admitted, “With other battles I had, maybe I was a little bit faster than the people I was catching [but], with Lewis, we were really very close on pace.
“There was some moments going out of turn eight to see who had the [DRS] detection point and, then, in turn ten, the same thing, at the last chicane, so there was some action there.
“But it was nice to have these battles, particularly in this race with such talented drivers, such intelligent drivers, [where] you fight wheel-to-wheel at 315km/h and you feel safe. You feel you are racing and you are competing. It can go your way or it can go the other way, but this is real
racing. I'm very happy to see this back after Monaco. It's a little bit different.”
Hamilton, too, confirmed that the fight had been clean, despite the damage to his Mercedes, but hoped that he'd be the one coming out in front next time.
“It was very, very close - I think some small part of my wing came off – but we had a good battle,” the Briton acknowledged, “He was very, very fair.
“I just hope we can get a bit quicker in the next race, [because] he was massively quick and it was very difficult to keep him behind. I tried my best [to retaliate] - I got close once he got past me - but he was just generally too quick for me.”
Hamilton eventually crossed the line 1.5secs behind his rival, the pair completing the podium as Sebastian Vettel
romped to a comfortable victory.