Hamilton, who had an acrimonious year alongside Alonso at McLaren in 2007, said the two-times world champion deserved more success in the sport.
“He’s one of the best drivers there’s ever been here. I would say it is a shame that he’s not decorated as his ability [deserves].”
Alonso’s last championship came with Renault in 2006. After spending a year with McLaren alongside Hamilton he returned to Renault, later moved on to Ferrari, and rejoined McLaren in 2015.
Hamilton suggested Alonso could have had more success if he’d chosen his career moves better.
“This sport is a very interesting machine,” he said. “It’s not just about being a great driver it’s also how you manoeuvre, it’s how you play the game. It’s like a chess game, it’s how you position yourself, the things that also are a part of the package.
“As I say he’s one of the greatest drivers in F1. For me, arguably the best driver I’ve ever driven against. I wish him all the best moving on.”
Sebastian Vettel, who took Alonso’s place at Ferrari in 2015, also believes some of Alonso’s career moves backfired.
“Obviously he’s decided to stop so I wish him all the best. I’m pretty sure he will continue racing in other categories. Maybe he will come back, you never know.
“Obviously the last seasons for him were certainly not the way he expected them to be. But I think we all look after ourselves and looking at other people you see something from the outside but you never really understand the full picture if you’re not completely involved in the decision-making process, what’s going on inside the team.
I think the reason why he didn’t win is quite clearly he didn’t have a package to win the last couple of years. But then some moves I think he decided to go down, sometimes it works, somtimes it doesn’t work.
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2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year