Andreas Stella has left Lewis Hamilton out of his top three drivers in Formula 1, and the McLaren team principal didn’t name either Lando Norris or Oscar Piastri in top spot.
Hamilton has the most Grand Prix victories in F1 history, a joint-record seven world championships, the best win percentage on the current grid and finished third in the 2023 drivers’ standings.
He won that first championship at McLaren in 2008 after being sponsored by the Woking-based team from a young age, but none of that was good enough for Stella as he snubbed Hamilton in favour of two drivers that finished below him in 2023.
“My top three drivers with the same car are Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso,” Stella told DAZN Spain.
“If I have to think of the most complete driver there is, I think of Alonso. He has no weaknesses and that makes him unique. He is not the best in several aspects, but he is very strong in each one.”
Stella: Piastri has Alonso’s mentality
Despite excluding his own Oscar Piastri from the list, Stella heaped praise on the Australian and said he mirrors Alonso‘s mental traits.
Piastri signed with the Alpine Academy ahead of the 2020 season – after winning the Formula Renault Eurocup and ahead of making his F3 debut.
That meant he got to spend plenty of time around Alonso when, seven months later, Alpine announced the Spaniard was joining the team for 2021 and spent much of 2020 around the team in preparation for his return to F1.
After winning both F3 and F2 in his rookie seasons, Piastri was without a drive in 2022 as Alpine‘s reserve driver, but when Alonso shockingly switched to Aston Martin in a blockbuster season, it emerged the Australian had agreed to drive for McLaren in 2023 instead of replacing Alonso at Enstone.
Managed by Mark Webber – Alonso‘s main title rival for much of the 2010 season and one of the coolest customers in recent F1 history – Piastri certainly hasn’t shown any signs that the controversy’s affected him on the way to ninth in the 2023 drivers’ championship, two podiums and a sprint race win.
“I see Alonso‘s mentality in Piastri, both are capable of calculating data while driving,” Stella added.
“Piastri is talented and intelligent, has very high mental abilities and is very calm. Norris on the other hand is already one of the best, being very fast and consistent in the race, especially in tyre management. If we could give him a good car, he could fight for the championship.