The Spaniard is acknowledged to be one of the very best and highest paid drivers on the grid, but at present he is languishing down the grid amid what F1 commentator Martin Brundle thinks is now a McLaren-Honda “crisis”.
“Fernando is my hero!” joked former Williams and McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya. “I don’t know how he bears it. I know I couldn’t — it must be so hard for a driver like him.”
Montoya, who switched to Nascar and then Indycar following an acrimonious split with McLaren a decade ago, told Spain’s AS newspaper he also thinks Alonso’s recent radio outbursts are forgivable.
“I fully understand his frustration,” said the Colombian. “He is an extraordinary driver and what happened in Japan with those radio messages is just logical — I would have done the same.”
Montoya, now 40, said Alonso is clearly one of the best drivers in F1 today.
“I think Vettel is the most complete and the hardest working,” he said, “but as for the speed it is Alonso.
“Hamilton is a balance between Vettel and Alonso, which is why he is doing well.”
Meanwhile, current Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo also commented on Alonso’s situation.
“I don’t know how he deals with it,” the Australian told Spain’s El Pais newspaper. “It must be a matter of changing perspective.
“I have talked a little about it with Jenson (Button), about how he can stay motivated. I’m sure it’s not easy but you just have to change your perspective I suppose and appreciate other things.
“On Sundays you’re not where you want to be, but the rest of the circus is fun,” Ricciardo added.