Alonso 'never meant to say' he's 'better' than top F1 drivers

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Fernando Alonso says his claim of being "better" than Formula 1's top drivers was actually a result of a misunderstanding.

Shortly before his first race since 2018 in Bahrain, the double world champion was seemingly back at his boastful best as he praised the talent on the 2021 grid before stating he was better than the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

And during the race weekend, that drew a pretty fiery response from Sebastian Vettel, who suggested Alonso had belittled the achievements of others.

“It does not sound right to me to sit here and say I’m the best, but if others choose to do so that is okay with me. I have no problem with that," he told

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“Maybe I’m not as vain in general. I’m happy with my life and what I have achieved.

“I have made mistakes in the past, and admit that I have. But ultimately I don’t think it has always been completely up to me. It is always a combination of things.

“It’s not like I look back and say ‘okay, this year I could have won the championship and I didn’t’.

“In the past five, six, seven years it has been Mercedes at the top and if you wanted to win the championship you had to be in that car.

“Plus the combination obviously of Lewis. I’m not giving any discredit," Vettel noted.

“What I am convinced of is that I can be among the best, be the best. I have proven to be that, but that does not give you a guarantee that you are the best every single day.

“But it would be ignorant to neglect or forget the amount of talent that is out there and what other people can do as well, how hard they work, and sometimes, even if I don’t like it, beat me when they are better. Then it’s about how you react.”

Alonso though cleared up the apparent confusion, saying he misheard the question.

"I thought the question was ‘are you as good as in 2018 when you left the sport?'," he said.

"The answer was well I hope that I am better than 2018 because all the experiences maybe make me a better driver.

"It was not compared to Lewis or to Max or anyone.

"First of all, it is difficult to compare and then they have dominated the sport for the last few years so I never meant to say that I was better than them."

Perhaps it says a lot about Alonso and his reputation that some might be sceptical of that argument... perhaps only Fernando will know for sure!