Alonso weighs up his competition for 2011
Fernando Alonso has been giving his thoughts about his closest rivals for the 2011 championship with the Spanish newspaper AS Alonso even took the opportunity to praise his old McLaren team mate and once arch enemy, Lewis Hamilton. Speaking about Hamilton Alonso said: "He is a great driver and maybe the fastest at the moment in Formula One," The Spanish driver continued, adding that Hamilton's current McLaren team-mate and 2009 World Champion, Jenson Button had a 'unique talent'. Button "has a great instinct for difficult races in rain or with the safety car. This is an unique talent." Alonso said. On current World Champion Sebastian Vettel, Alonso commented that the young German driver is "very fast and precise. If he is coming first in a race, he is difficult to stop." Meanwhile, describing Vettel's team-mate, Mark Webber, Fernando said he is "experienced, calm and very consistent. It is very rare to see him fail." The Ferrari driver recently named Schumacher as his major threat for the season ahead. Although, on this occasion he didn't go as far, but did say that Schumacher had a difficult return to F1 in 2010 but "he is the champion, we all respect him and he is a driver always capable of surprising." Alonso also commented on his own team-mate Felipe Massa, saying he is "very quick, knows the team and is very hungry to win". The twice World Champion, also took the opportunity to hit back at suggestions that while he is universally rated as perhaps F1's best driver, he is far from the most popular. "There are more than 30,000 people here," Alonso said at last week's Jerez test. "The people who speak badly about me then tremble and cry when they want to have their picture taken with me. There is a difference between how brave people feel writing on the Internet, and when I see the admiration I receive all around the world. I also think it's easier to write that there are so many people who are anti-Alonso than to write that 30,000 people came to a test to see me." The 3rd set of winter tests get underway later this week in Barcelona.