TOP 10: FERNANDO ALONSO RACES
YOU HAVE TO FEEL SORRY FOR FERNANDO IN HIS CURRENT SITUATION. IF YOU NEEDED A REMINDER OF HIS BRILLIANCE, HERE ARE HIS TOP 10 RACES.
10) 2013 SPANISH GRAND PRIX
7 years after his first Spanish Grand Prix win, Fernando Alonso delighted the home crowd in Barcelona as he pulled off an unlikely victory. After qualifying in 5th place, it looked as if a Fernando Alonso victory was off the cards. No one had ever come from further back than 3rd to win around the Circuit de Catalunya.
Alonso remained undeterred and pulled off a fantastic double overtake around turn 3 to send the Spanish fans into a frenzy. On the day it was Alonso's four stop strategy that bested Kimi Raikkonen and his three stop strategy as he took victory by nearly 10 seconds. This was Alonso's 32nd career victory, 4 and a half years later and he's still waiting for his 33rd.
9) 2017 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
Since rejoining McLaren in 2015, Alonso has endured a difficult spell where success has been few and far between. Whilst opportunities of victories have vanished for the Spaniard, his ability to outperform his car has continually caught the eye of spectators. The 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix is a prime example of this.
The impact of Honda's underperforming engine was slightly less thanks to the windy Hungaroring, Alonso took full advantage of this by dragging the car all the way to P6. Race winner Sebastian Vettel was able to lap all cars from P7 downwards but was a fair distance away from doing the same to Fernando. He capped off his performance with the fastest lap of the day which is an incredible achievement in that McLaren.
8) 2005 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
You could probably make this top 10 list from just Japanese Grands Prix such is Fernando's dominance in the land of the rising sun. Alonso didn't win this edition of the race, that honour went to Kimi Raikkonen as he came from 17th to win, but that shouldn't diminish Alonso's own achievement of a podium after he started 16th.
One of the most memorable moments from the race was Alonso's daring overtake on Michael Schumacher around 130R. This would be the first of two occasions when Alonso overtook the 7x world champion. It wasn't just Schumacher, Alonso overtook everyone in his sight including Jenson Button, Mark Webber and the majority of the midfield. It's drives like this that indicate how he convincingly won the title in 05.
7) 2012 MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX
Ferrari had a poor start to the 2012 season and were struggling around Malaysia for the majority of free practice and qualifying. Alonso was only able to obtain 9th on the grid but sealed a fantastic victory after an entertaining race.
Alonso was able to display his talents in the wet and took the lead fairly early on in the race, he was put under pressure by the Sauber of Sergio Perez as the track dried out, but he eventually held him off thanks to some masterful defensive driving.
6) 2012 EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX
It's fair to say that Alonso got his fair share of luck in order to take victory around the streets of Valencia. Vettel retiring from the lead and a timely safety car were exactly what Alonso needed after qualifying in just 11th place. However, he also needed to make a lot of overtakes at crucial moments and every time he was able to complete the task at hand.
A typical good start propelled him from 11th to 8th, before clinical overtakes on drivers with worn tyres proved pivotal. Another incredibly important overtake on Grosjean after the safety car period was duly carried out and once Vettel had retired from first place, it was job done.
The emotion shown by Alonso on the podium was telling, coupled with the fact that this was long-time rival Michael Schumacher's first podium in six years, means that the scenes at the end were enough to make the list by themselves.
5) 2001 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
Arguably, this is the race that first showed that Fernando Alonso was a future star in Formula 1. 2001, Alonso's first season in F1, had been spent with Minardi. The car was quite comfortably the slowest on the grid and competing for points was impossible for Alonso. At the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix, Alonso somehow got P18 in qualifying and in the process out qualified teammate Alex Yoong by 1.8 seconds, as well as both Arrows drivers and the Prost of Tomas Enge.
During the race he managed to hold off the BAR of Panis and the Arrows of Verstappen to clinch P11, his second best finish of the season. His ability to compete with cars that were much faster than his gained him many plaudits as he made the move to Renault to become a test driver. The rest is history.
4) 2005 SAN MARINO GRAND PRIX
If you're looking for a defensive masterclass, may I point you in the direction of the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix. After qualifying 2nd, Alonso was promoted to the lead after pole sitter Kimi Raikkonen retired from the race, but that was far from job over for Alonso.
Michael Schumacher had staged a spectacular recovery after starting in just 13th place, with all other cars passed, Schumacher turned his attention to Alonso and was significantly quicker as he bore down on the leader. For 13 laps, Alonso was forced to defend with everything that he and his Renault had, he was ultimately successful as he took victory by the narrowest of margins (0.2 seconds). This would be Alonso's third win in succession and proved to be a catalyst for the rest of the season.
3) 2003 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
This race is significant for so many reasons. Firstly, it was a sign of things to come for both Fernando Alonso and for Renault. This marked the first race win for Renault as a Constructor for 30 years as well as being Alonso's first race win. As history can tell us, the partnership would bring plenty more success later down the line.
The race itself was built upon Alonso's fantastic start, after qualifying on pole he was able to accumulate a lead of 7 seconds after just three laps, this was extended to 21 seconds after 13 laps. From here it was down to Alonso to stay focused and see out the race win in a composed manner. He did just this, showing that he was mature beyond his years. Winning the race at just 22 years old, Alonso broke Bruce McLaren's record as the youngest driver to win a race. A record that had stood since 1959.
2) 2007 EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX
It's tough to judge which is better: Alonso's performance or the race itself. Changing conditions meant that this race turned out to be a dramatic affair, that was pretty clear from the off as the Spyker of Markus Winklehock led as he was the only driver to start on wet tyres. Once the circuit had dried and the carnage had subsided, it was Felipe Massa who led comfortably out front with Alonso a long way back.
The weather would have one more say in the race however, another downpour meant that it would be intermediate tyres until the end of the race. Felipe Massa was immensely confident with the dry tyres and would almost certainly the victory, but on the inters it was Alonso who was much quicker and begun to put pressure on the Brazilian. The lead evaporated at an astonishing rate, he then made the decisive pass on lap 56 to take a famous victory.
1) 2010 SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX
15th August 2004 - that was the last date before the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix where a driver managed to secure pole position, the fastest lap and lead every lap on the way to victory. This is more commonly known as the 'Grand Chelem'. It was Michael Schumacher who had last achieved it at the Hungarian Grand Prix, six years later and Alonso had one for himself.
The race may not have been the most spectacular, but Alonso needed every bit of his talent to hold off the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel. The pair traded fastest laps throughout the entire race with Vettel applying pressure at all times. Despite Vettel probably having a quicker car, Alonso delivered a flawless performance to claim the 25 points.