Vettel and Alonso went head-to-head for the 2010 and 2012 world championships, with the Red Bull driver coming out on top on both occasions.

F1 2023 driver line-up - who will underachieve?

The pair’s rivalry was incredibly respectful on track as they never came to blows during their respective title duels.

Alonso had been previously critical of Vettel for his run of success in the early 2010s, suggesting that it was down to the Red Bull car built by design guru Adrian Newey, rather than the German’s talents.

With Vettel retiring at the end of 2022, Alonso - to some surprise - was one to praise his former rival, even stating he wouldn’t fight him on the opening lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Reflecting on his rivalry with the Spaniard, Vettel recalled his titanic duel with Alonso for the 2012 championship.

“I think I admire him as a competitor," Vettel told the Beyond The Grid podcast. “He's probably been the toughest one, especially in [those] first couple of years, and we had [such] close battles at the end of the championships, both in 2010 and then 2012, in particular, which is still probably one of my favourite moments/memories.

“Just the tension coming into the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, that morning, that build-up.

“I think that, for me, at least – I don't know for the people who were there, [they] were probably more relaxed – but for me, it was very intense, and I think both of us were very nervous."

Vettel conceded that he and Alonso never got to know each other away from the race track.

“I rate Fernando really high as a driver,” he added. “I think he has got so much natural talent, incredible determination, great racing instinct, and all of that he hasn't lost. You can see he loves his racing. He's very passionate. 

“As a person, though, I don't know him, really. I wouldn't say we don't get along, I think we respect each other. But it's just never happened that we really got to know each other, spend time [together] or talk much outside racing.”