“Alonso has the most mental strength” - Jackie Stewart

The three-time world champion spoke to AS while at the Bahrain circuit before the start of the race. "The Spaniard is still one of the best, if not the best."

Sir Jackie Stewart

"Yes, of course, young man. And thanks for calling me as you should." Sir Jackie Stewart accepts the treatment that was bestowed on him by the Queen of England, with kindness but a touch of egocentricity that accompanies all of the great drivers. It's impossible to hide vanity. The Scotsman became triple world champion (1969, 71, 73) and had 27 victories, 43 podium places in 99 gran prix. A legend; someone we should listen to. Wearing green tartan trousers and accompanied by two lads who looked at him as if he himself was the Creator as he spoke to us:

Have you heard what Herbert said about Alonso?

Yes, I read something about that. He said something along the lines of Fernando would not or should not drive again. I obviously don't agree. He will return soon.

Sir Jackie Stewart thinking of having a wee spin at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2015

In the next race we hope...

I hope he can get back for the race in China, or that's what I'd like to see, but if not then the following race. It doesn't matter if he misses one or two, for him this is fine, but for his team it's very important...

The Spaniard is still highly thought of in the world of F1, with a few exceptions, but it's been several years since he last won a title. What's your view on Alonso?

Alonso is one of the best drivers on the grid, possibly even the best, and without doubt the one with the greatest mental strength. He's a complete driver who takes advantage of all possible opportunities, even if there is just a small chance he is going to win, something that is unachievable for others.

Jackie Stewart sits in his Matra car before the race, Great Britain, Silverstone, 1969

You know that he wanted to race in Bahrain despite everything?

It's logical that he didn't compete in Bahrain - he took a very heavy blow and his ribs will have hurt a lot. Yet the fact that he wanted to race is admirable, although I think that the risk was too great and it was better to wait a while longer.

Can you see Fernando becoming champion once again?

That's the big question. I think he can, assuming McLaren give him a competitive car he'll be there or thereabouts. And I hope he does it. But that's why he can't retire. And he won't, I think he wants to win that title, if you get what I'm saying?

'I understand Sir, I understand ...