Fernando Alonso has joked that Lewis Hamilton would have won the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship had he 'watched more data' from Nico Rosberg in a pointed quip over his former team-mate's assertion that data sharing between team-mates is 'bad'.

As he prepares to race alongside Valtteri Bottas for the first time at Mercedes this season, Hamilton suggested he was against the idea of allowing a team-mate to garner information using his own data, though he would later clarify his comments were 'general' and not directed at the team itself

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Mercedes is known to advocate data sharing between their drivers in an effort to maintain the upper hand over their rivals, but this year could see it become more prevalent as Bottas attempts to get up to speed in the W08.

It is an attitude of Hamilton's that Alonso - who endured famously strained relationship with the Briton at McLaren back in 2007 - says is a bit 'strange' given Mercedes' policy before quipping he should have used it to his advantage.

"He's said many times that he was learning from the data. Mercedes also is one of the teams using more of the data, more with the engineers, to help the drivers.

"So for this I think it is a little bit strange to hear from him. If he was watching more data from Rosberg last year, maybe he would have won the championship..."

Alonso, meanwhile, still expects Mercedes to have the upper hand when the season begins because the engine deficit will still be too much to bridge for their main rivals.

"Though that the regulation is 50 percent of the car because the engines stay the same so Mercedes unfortunately still have a very big advantage over anyone else. That carry over is a handicap for the rest of the teams, so we need to be much, much better job than them on the chassis side if we want to compensate that advantage that they deserve also because they did a fantastic job.

"These turbo engines they've been dominating and now the regulation change, it's true they are big and will mix a little bit, but until a point because the engine will still have a big impact. As Red Bull said a few weeks ago they're still fighting against the Mercedes engine so I expect they are still very competitive. We saw the new car yesterday which seemed well elaborated and will for sure be a contender, plus the advantage of the engine."

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