After 17 years in the sport, Fernando Alonso announced he would be leaving Formula One at the end of the 2018 season as a two-time world champion, a number Lewis Hamilton believes could have been more had the Spaniard made smarter career choices.
Speaking to Auto Motor und Sport, Hamilton questioned the decisions Alonso made away from the track.
“Sure, he could have won more championships, but it’s not like he didn’t have the chance," Hamilton said.
“It just depends on making the right decisions outside the cockpit.
“If you think like he did that you control the driver market, you can’t be surprised when you end up without something in your hands. Because Seb [Vettel] and I were also on the market.”
Having began his career with Minardi in 2001, Alonso went on to drive for Renault and McLaren on two separate occasions, most recently beginning a second stint with the UK-based team in 2015 after leaving Ferrari.
Despite clearly disagreeing with the decisions he made, Hamilton did go on to praise Alonso, saying despite four disappointing seasons with McLaren, his stock remains high.
“I have a lot of respect for Fernando. He is a phenomenal driver, and I believe his reputation has not suffered in recent years.
“I think people know what he brought inside and outside of F1.”
Looking back at the 2007 campaign, Hamilton thinks people did not appreciate the pressure he was under at the time as he went up against Alonso as an F1 rookie.
"I feel like people underestimate that season," he said.
"Yes I did, unlike other people, come into a top team. But it is easier probably in some respects to be in a lower team where you don't have so much pressure.
"Being in a top team straight away and having to try to deliver to a two-time world champion who has been through what I have been through to this point, is a huge demand.
"It was one of the toughest years of my life to balance everything.
"Plus, I had not had any fame. All of a sudden people were taking pictures, [and I was] travelling more than ever.
"It was tough, but looking back now I really appreciate that year. But I wish I knew then what I know now."
Whilst Alonso has failed to add to his tally of two world championships since the two former teammates parted ways, Hamilton recently secured his fifth title.