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Alonso: Relationship with Lewis would be 'very different' if we were teammates now

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Fernando Alonso believes he and Lewis Hamilton would now enjoy a harmonious relationship if they were to reunite as teammates in Formula One.

The pair endured a tumultuous season together at McLaren in 2007, resulting in Alonso's swift exit from the team at the end of the year after falling out with team boss Ron Dennis. Both Alonso and Hamilton missed out on the 2007 title by a single point to Kimi Raikkonen, but despite their frosty relationship at the time they have since spoken of their respect for one another.

Nine years later, Alonso, who has since returned to McLaren, believes he and Hamilton would work well together.

"I think it would be different," he told ESPN. "I'm more mature, he's more mature. The teams now are, in a way, more prepared for all the situations.

"If I was teammate of Lewis one day I think it would be very different, because we have learned and we are very different people. We no longer have that ... let's say that stress of winning on the side because I think we respect each other a lot.

"Everyone respects us a lot and we would drive as fast as we can but with another level of respect."

Alonso believes the public would enjoy watching him fight Hamilton in the same car, but only if they were driving for a competitive team.

"I think everyone would love it, but only if the team is competitive, because it is the same case as Jenson [Button] and me [at McLaren]. We have a strong team now and we could fight for many important things, but when the car is not competitive your weekends are a little bit anonymous. You come here, you do your race and you go and no one will notice if you did a fantastic qualifying lap, if you did a mistake in qualifying and you are out of Q1.

"We had some mistakes this year, we had some traffic in Baku -- where we were more or less competitive -- and we were 14th and 15th in qualifying because of the traffic. Who noticed that? No one, because all the things in the weekend are a little bit anonymous when you are not fighting for the world championship. I think yes, Formula One, or the fans, or everyone will love to see the big names, or the champions, fighting for the wins but this is probably not possible because in the DNA of the sport only one team can win."

Although the prospect of a Hamilton/Alonso pairing remains enticing, it also appears to be entirely hypothetical as Mercedes has contracts with both Hamilton and Nico Rosberg until the end of 2018. Alonso could, however, find himself paired with another McLaren protégée next year as GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne looks set to replace Jenson Button in 2017.

The pairing of Alonso and a McLaren-backed rookie has obvious similarities to the Alonso/Hamilton line-up, but the Spaniard insists there is one big difference.

"In 2007 it was very unique because Lewis was very protected by McLaren from a very young age, he was part of the programme, and he was very fast. We had a very competitive car so we were certainly fighting for the world championship when no one was expecting ... and he was British. So, Stoffel is not British. That's enough of the difference, I think [to avoid a repeat]."