Former Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen has discussed about the difficulties of working alongside the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Finnish driver was teammates with the Englishman at McLaren after succeeding Fernando Alonso in 2008, following the Spaniard’s return to Renault at the end of the 2007 season.
“Occasionally I could match him but over the full season I had to stretch every session to match him,” Kovalainen told talkSPORT.
“You can only do so much stretching and then you run out of energy and that was the case with me, I didn’t have enough margin in my capacity to do the times and the races that he did, so it was not easy.
“His level of performance is so high that even for super talents like Max [Verstappen] it requires a lot of effort, a lot of focus, a lot of energy, so it’s not going to be easy, not everyone can handle that, it’s as simple as that.
“I think [Nico] Rosberg had to use all the tools from his toolbox to be able to beat Lewis and that nearly killed him, he said it himself, he couldn’t have done another season like that or he’d be dead.”
Kovalainen went on to express his belief that Alonso could have been affected by Hamilton‘s dominance in 2007. From that point on, the two-time world champion has not managed to win a single title.
“Since [Alonso‘s] championship years with Renault he’s always made the wrong move and just sometimes I wonder if the trigger was the surprise of Hamilton‘s speed,” he said.
“If that is the core issue, then the falling out with [McLaren boss] Ron Dennis and with the team followed and there wasn’t any other place to go, Renault was kind of on a downward slope, he was just playing catch up after that and that never really recovered.”