Fernando Alonso has shown his appreciation of Lewis Hamilton’s feats in Formula 1 as he moves to the brink of a fifth world title and feels his talents have always impressed throughout his career.

While Alonso and Hamilton traded bad blood as fierce rival teammates at McLaren during the British driver’s rookie F1 campaign in 2007, a mutual respect has grown between the two as their careers have developed.

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With the Spanish two-time F1 world champion set to bid goodbye to the sport at the end of this season, with his 2019 plans and a mooted Indycar switch still unconfirmed, he feels Hamilton’s feats have always impressed him having won at least one race in every single year of his career.

“In 2007 it was difficult to imagine what the future would bring for Lewis or for all the other guys on the grid. He showed his talent from day one, fighting for the championship in his rookie year and winning it in 2008,” Alonso said.

“At that time we could all agree that five or seven titles would be possible for him but then he had a couple of years down, due to the performance of the car, the switch to Mercedes, so maybe at that time we all thought it wouldn’t be possible, because at the time Mercedes was struggling in 2013. The feelings were up and down.

“But I’m happy for him because he showed the talent from day one. He was able to win races when the car was there to win them, but he was also able to win races in seasons when his car was not on top form, like 2009 and things like that. He was still winning a couple of Grand Prix per year, so it’s impressive.”

Alonso, who travelled to Austin directly after competing the Fuji 6 Hours for Toyota in WEC, is eager to produce a strong showing for McLaren after a ‘difficult’ couple of rounds with car performance making him suffer in Russia and Japan.

“Hopefully we will be able to perform all weekend,” he said. “With the weather making things more difficult on Friday and Saturday for us the target is to score points after two difficult weekends.”