Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso believes Lewis Hamilton’s title rivals are not exploiting the British driver’s slow starts to a Formula 1® season.
Hamilton has won six world championships himself, including five in the last six years in a dominant run at Mercedes.
But Alonso - a former teammate of Hamilton’s at McLaren in 2007 - said that even though the 35-year-old has improved in recent years, he still has a clear “weakness”.
“He’s made a step forward - he is more competitive, more prepared,” Alonso told F1 Racing Magazine.
“He still has some weak points that have not been stressed yet - no-one is pressing that button, that weakness.”
Alonso went on to highlight that Hamilton is not at his best in the early stages of a season.
“If you study Lewis’ season, there is always a common trend,” he said.
“He starts the year slowly and no-one takes the benefit of that. We all get excited that it will be the year of [Mercedes teammate Valtteri] Bottas, but it’s not.”
Australia has hosted the season-opening race in all but one (2010) of Hamilton’s Formula 1® seasons.
Hamilton has started from pole in eight races at Melbourne’s iconic Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit, but won just two of them, in 2008 and 2015.
Alonso won both of his titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 but also finished runner-up in the world championship race on three separate occasions in a five-year stint with Ferrari.
The 38-year-old left Formula 1® after the 2018 season and has won the Le Mans 24 Hours race on two occasions since. He also competed in this year’s Dakar Rally, finishing 13th.
With speculation circling that he may return to Formula 1® in 2021, Alonso added it would be “nice” to challenge Hamilton again.
“It would be nice to compete against him in a proper fight,” he added.
“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.”
Hamilton will have a chance to start his 2020 season with victory at the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020, which runs from March 12-15.