Lewis Hamilton says Fernando Alonso is the driver he is most eager to beat in Formula One.
“He’s the guy I want to beat,” Hamilton told the Daily Mail. “You also want to beat Seb [Vettel], as they are the ones with most titles.”
“But Alonso’s the fastest driver I can see. He’s also one of the most experienced. Anyone would struggle to beat him.”
Hamilton said his rivalry with Alonso was more exciting than competing with former McLaren team mate Jenson Button.
“Trying to finish ahead of Alonso, in a Ferrari that is actually really competitive, is a really nice challenge. And I do think the Ferrari is going to be quick this year.”
Hamilton will start his first race as a Mercedes driver in Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix but he isn’t making any predictions on how competitive his new team will be:
“We had a good, reliable car during winter testing so that’s the positive we can take with us into the weekend but we know that in terms of performance, everything begins again from zero in Friday practice.”
“I love the circuit,” he added. “It’s a street track with a really bumpy surface so you try and put as much downforce on the car as possible and it really puts the drivers to the test.”
Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.
Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.
“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.
“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”