Alonso: Lewis happier at Mercs

Fernando Alonso has claimed that Lewis Hamilton 'will be much happier at Mercedes' than he was at McLaren.

Hamilton begins a new chapter in his career at Mercedes in 2013 having ended his 14-year association with McLaren by signing a three-season deal with his new Brackley-based team.

Although the move was announced last September, the merits or otherwise of the switch have continued to be one of the major talking points over the winter and Alonso used his first public appearance of 2013 to enter the debate on Thursday.

The Spaniard, who endured a tumultuous single season at Woking alongside a then rookie Hamilton in 2007 prior to a swift return to Renault, says he can appreciate why his rival has changed teams.

"I understand the move," Alonso said on Sky Sports News. "Always you need some new challenges when you get tired from one situation.

"I think McLaren sometimes is not the easiest place to live, so I think he will be much more happy now in Mercedes than what he was in the past."

Having already at Ferrari's annual Wrooom ski event, Alonso reiterated: "He will be a threat [in 2013] because Lewis has always been always winning with all the cars in the past seasons and Mercedes has also won already last year with Nico Rosberg in China.

"So I think Mercedes will be able to win with Hamilton this year again and he will be always a contender."