Fernando Alonso says Lewis Hamilton was not openly talking about driving for Ferrari being his dream until his move to Maranello was announced, but believes the Briton could be fighting for a championship this year.
Hamilton announced his decision to leave Mercedes for Ferrari at the start of this month, exercising a break clause to make the switch at the end of 2024. Alonso drove for Ferrari from 2010 until 2014, and says Hamilton will need to win to get the best experience with the team but also allowed himself to joke about claims he had always wanted to race for the Scuderia.
"It was not his childhood dream 12 months ago or two months ago, I guess, because it was a different dream," Alonso said. "Nothing really to comment. I hope he enjoys the experience. I think it's a very special team, but it is more special when you win. That's the thing - you need to win, and it's a few years already that they have a very fast car and they were fighting for big things, and maybe Lewis can bring that extra to fight for the championship.
"As I said, the car is there. At the end of last year, even with a very dominant Red Bull car, Ferrari was still able to match the lap time and be faster than them in most of the [qualifying sessions]. I think the car should be fast enough."
The Spaniard admits he was surprised by Hamilton's switch because of how integrated at Mercedes the seven-time world champion has been.
"I didn't spend too much time (on the news),” he said. “I was training…that day, so I missed all the stress from everybody. I was just one day late on the news. I don't know, probably it was a surprise, I will not lie, but not because [of] the change itself. It was just because, from the outside, it seemed like he was very linked with Mercedes and very loyal to them and things like that.
"It was a little bit unexpected. I don't know the reasons behind [it]. I don't know anything, the stories, so it's more a question for him. But yeah, I didn't pay too much attention, and probably next week it's going to be more of a theme because, still, one year ahead, I didn't spend much time thinking.
Alonso eventually tired of speaking about Hamilton's move, when the topic of big name engineers from rival teams - including Aston Martin - potentially joining him was brought up.
"Ummm, I don’t know. I have no info and I don’t care what Lewis Hamilton is doing."