Hamilton & Alonso ahead of Senna & Prost as F1's strongest ever lineup

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Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso usurped Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost as Formula 1's strongest ever driver pairing, Pedro de la Rosa believes.

The Spaniard, who was a test driver at McLaren during their year together in 2007, saw first-hand the ups and downs both drivers went through as the young rookie took the fight to the two-time defending world champion.

Of course, now the partnership is best known for how it deteriorated in the second half of the year but in terms of raw talent, De la Rosa places the combined skills of the two drivers ahead of McLaren's other best-known lineup.

“I was surprised at how it all exploded, unfortunately, because if we look back, that driver pairing is possibly the strongest there’s ever been, ever,” De la Rosa said on F1's Beyond the Grid podcast.

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“I always think that the new generations are stronger, so it’s nothing against Senna, Prost, they are my heroes, forever heroes.

“But actually, I think that level of Fernando, Lewis was amazing. I mean, I remember looking at their data and thinking ‘these guys are from a different planet’."

De la Rosa also believes the negative headlines and sourness that engulfed Alonso's first year at McLaren covered up what was actually healthy competition between Fernando and Hamilton, something that would have been hugely beneficial for the Woking-based squad. 

“I was not expecting their relationship to explode. It was a shame because those two guys they would have brought so many championships to McLaren," he claimed.

“They always respected each other massively at the track because they knew how good the other was and, although they never said publicly, they had a lot of respect for each other.

“There was nothing wrong ever done at the race track between them. It was always a strong fight, but fair. There was nothing, no pushing or just breaking the front wing, nothing. There was just two gladiators fighting bravely at the race track. So I have no bad memories about that.”