Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel admitted he enjoyed the on-track battles waged with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso over the years as the latter celebrated his 40th birthday, at the site of his maiden F1 victory.

Vettel, who competed with Alonso while at Red Bull for the F1 title back in 2010 and 2012, praised the Spaniard as one of the best rivals he ever faced in the sport. Alonso first became famous for breaking Vettel’s idol and legendary Ferrari talisman Michael Schumacher’s championship streak and proceeded to defend his championship in 2006.

“I think that’s an achievement and obviously he’s had such a long career, so many different cars, so I consider it a pleasure to race beside him and fight him on the track,” Vettel said.

“I always enjoy [racing] Fernando. He won here in 2003, I was in front of the TV and I remember when he won. I think his talent is, without doubt, the skills on track one of the biggest that the sport has seen, and he’s done something which I thought was impossible to do, which is beating Michael because when I grew up, it was like, Michael is the number one and impossible to beat – and Fernando started beating him.”

I am an Indian Motorsports fan with an unhealthy curiosity over all things quick and complicated. I obsess over Star Wars in my free time.