Hamilton 'equal' with Alonso

  • Last Updated: January 24 2013, 11:04 GMT

Lewis Hamilton believes his relationship with Fernando Alonso is now finally on an "equal" footing, six years on from the Spaniard's acrimonious single season at McLaren.

Lewis Hamilton: Says he and Fernando are now 'equals'

The world champion pair built up a noticeably stronger public rapport during the course of last year with each driver acknowledging the other as their strongest rival on the grid.

Indeed, even in the early weeks of this year Alonso has already reiterated his belief that the new Mercedes recruit is the strongest driver in F1.

Hamilton himself has welcomed the thawing of his Ferrari rival's attitude towards him, suggesting Alonso has finally put the memories of 2007 behind him.

"My relationship with Fernando has got a lot better," he told F1 Racing magazine.

"Finally we've got past 2007 - more so on his side than on mine. It seems that he finally appreciates me as a driver, as I appreciate him. It's equal between us now.

"I believe he's the best and he said that in Brazil about me.

"I love that he has that respect for me, because I have that respect for him."

Both drivers are now former McLaren men after Hamilton himself opted to leave the Woking team at the end of 2012 to take on a new challenge at Mercedes.

However, the 28-year-old, who has signed a three-year deal at Brackley, reiterated in the interview that he could one day see himself returning to McLaren.

"I definitely could race for McLaren in the future because this team is my home," Hamilton added.

"It will always be the place where I grew up; it will always be the place where my heart is - it really will.

"Even if I'm somewhere else and having good experiences, I'll always look back and know that I had my first 21 GP wins with McLaren and I had my first chance there.

"It's the team that helped me break into the world of F1, so my heart and soul are there."

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