Fernando Alonso: Why Schumacher was my greatest rival in F1

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Fernando Alonso has named Michael Schumacher as his greatest rival during his 17-year career in Formula 1.

The Spaniard has had many notable fights with drivers over the years with the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in successful and unsuccessful bids for world titles.

However, after calling time on F1 at the end of last year, Alonso explained why none come close to his duels with the legendary German.

“It’s difficult to choose one, obviously, if I have to say one, it will be Michael,” he said. “Not because any particular reason it was just because when I got to Formula 1 Michael was dominating the sport.

“[When] you are in go-karts and you see Michael winning, you are different categories, you see Michael winning, and then eventually you find yourself fighting [him] wheel-to-wheel.

“So, those battles were definitely special, or more emotional at that time.”

Alonso was famously the driver that ended Schumacher's reign as F1 champion, winning his two crowns in 2005 and 2006, but they would be his only triumphs in a career which many believe Fernando underachieved.

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Looking back though, the 37-year-old does think the sport he leaves at least as a race driver is much stronger than it was when he began with Minardi in 2001.

“I think we had, and probably have right now, the most talented generation because all drivers now they are more prepared,” he claimed.

“They get more time in the simulator, in different young driver programmes, so they go to F1 with a level that was unthinkable a decade or two decades ago.”