Fernando Alonso has hinted again at his desire to return to Formula 1 with the goal of challenging six-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

Speaking to F1 Racing, the 2005 and 2006 Driver’s World Champion suggested the Briton has weaknesses that no one on the current grid has tested.

“He’s made a step forward – he is more competitive, more prepared… [but] he still has some weak points that have not been stressed yet – no-one is pressing that button, that weakness.

A one-time teammate of Hamilton’s at McLaren in 2007, the two featured in one of the sport’s most heated rivalries in recent memory — both drivers finishing with four wins and 109 points before Alonso left the team at the end of the season.

Having been out of F1 since his second stint with McLaren ended in 2018, the 38-year-old maintains he still has the goods necessary to battle the Briton, even as he concedes the 35-year-old has improved as a driver.

“He’s raised the level the last couple of years, especially in 2019 when the car has not been as dominant as other seasons. If he cannot win, he’s a very close second – not 20 seconds further back, which is what happens a little bit with Valtteri [Bottas]. A weekend when the car is not as competitive, Bottas is fifth or sixth or a minute behind – but Lewis is not.”

“If you study Lewis’ season, there is always a common trend,” the Spaniard continued. “He starts the year slowly, and no-one takes the benefit of that. We all get excited that it will be the year of Bottas, but it’s not.

“It would be nice to compete against him in a proper fight. Maybe his weak points are not real and everything is calculated, but it would be nice to discover.

“When you have a good package and the other guys crash and you extend your championship lead, everything seems calm. If you are only one point behind or 10 points behind, the stress is different. The mistakes are different and your radio communications are different. We need to see him when the pressure is on.”

Long rumoured to be targeting 2021 for a return to the top flight, Alonso has nevertheless busied himself in the interim by competing in a variety of motorsports, including most recently, the Dakar Rally. His next event will be the 2020 Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport, with reports in the Spanish press indicating an official announcement will take place this week.

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