Lewis Hamilton says he is pleased to see another World Champion returning to the F1 grid next season after Fernando Alonso’s Renault comeback was confirmed ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix.

Though Hamilton endured a fractious relationship with Alonso when they were partnered at McLaren in 2007, tensions eased during the more recent years as their careers ventured on different paths.

Fifteen years on from winning the second of his world titles with Renault, Alonso returns to F1 returns to the team for 2021 in what will be his first full campaign since 2018 when he parted ways with McLaren.

While some have questioned the wisdom of drafting in Alonso over the next generation at a time when top teams – such as Red Bull and Ferrari – have invested in youth, Hamilton believes it is the ideal solution for the French firm.

I would imagine there’s pros and cons on both,” he replied when asked about Alonso’s relative age. “Experience definitely counts for a lot and when you are working with a team, a team like Renault, every team is pushing to develop to move forwards and evolve, experience can help the team move in the right direction so that will definitely be a bonus for them.

“I don’t know what it’s like to be 40 yet, so I don’t know how it is physically challenging. I have no doubts that Fernando can be in great shape. The bonus for me is that I was the second oldest and now I’m going down to the third oldest.”

It means at least two World Champions will be represented on the grid in 2021, or three should Sebastian Vettel secure a new deal ahead of his impending exit from Ferrari. While the outlook appears limited for the German as top seats are snapped up around him, Hamilton hopes the four-time F1 champion stays on the grid.

“If Seb was to stop before his time I think that’d be a shame, I think he’s got a lot more to give to the sport and a lot more to achieve and once again it’s about making sure we have as many top drivers as possible. We want to keep the world champions. Seb is a world champion and Fernando is a world champion so I think that’s only good for the sport.”

 

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