There are fine F1 drivers. Then there are consistent F1 drivers. There are also some whom you’d consider special forces of nature. And then there are, not to forget, the real stalwarts of Formula 1 racing. If you know your Formula 1 – and hey, very respectfully speaking, this is not to sound condescending- you’d know where to place a certain Fernando Alonso of Oviedo, Spain on this bifercation.
For Fernando Alonso isn’t just a great or consistent driver alone. Nor is he just a force of nature; the double world champion, as a matter of fact, is a stalwart of the sport.
Someone against whose name the placement of two world titles perhaps seems a bit of a misfit; for a driver of his immensity of skill and focus should, at least, have garnered no fewer than four world championships.
He excites you so much that he actually leaves you wanting more!
Because everytime you see an Alonso, you sense the gripping force of energy and you get the feeling that come race day and this man will, quite simply, change the course or tide of the contest.
In 2012 and 2013, despite not having a car that could perhaps match the raw pace of Vettel’s Red Bull on every occasion, Fernando Alonso kept his Ferrari close on the heels of Horner’s team. He kept fighting. He’d emerge second, but next-best only to the world champion of those years.
Much before that, he’d be the only guy from Renault to challenge the might and dominance of Michael Schumacher of all drivers.
When Ferrari got the Iceman Kimi Raikkonen to partner the Spaniard in 2014, the only season where fans got to shower their adulation towards the fire-and-ice pair, then Alonso quite simply hammered the legend of the sport everywhere; his 161 points in comparison to Kimi’s 55 proving the Finn was not good enough to tackle the threat of car# 14.
Moreover, last year, in Hungary, Alonso, in an Alpine- would you believe it- kept Lewis Hamilton in that marauding Mercedes at bay for several laps as Ocon chipped away right at the front.
A fitting moment arrived much later, at Qatar, where Fernando Alonso, in his comeback year of the sport returned to the podium. Interestingly, neither he nor anyone on the-then F1 grid had any prior experience of racing at the track.
And this year, Fernando Alonso, who had begun decently enough considering his P9 at Bahrain wasn’t such a despicable result after all, has just recently driven what one could call his most daring and bold effort yet.
The 2022 Spanish GP drive, where the local hero began from the back end of the grid only to finish P9 at the checkered flag. And yet, just how little did we come to read about the man who’s famously called the Spanish Samurai, one who overtook Vettel on the main straits of Barcelona in a clinical and smooth fashion.
But all of that said, nothing, knowing Fernando Alonso’s eagerness and hunger to fight and grind it out there, will excite him as much as the forthcoming Monaco Grand Prix.
So how or why is that?
Believe it or not, but up to this point, Fernando Alonso, who’s claimed everywhere- whether Bahrain, Monza, Shanghai, Hungaroring, Hockenheim, New Delhi (Buddh International Circuit), has only stood on the podium at Monaco for no more than 4 occasions.
In fact, what doesn’t quite shine as such on an otherwise sparkling Grand Prix resume of the great man is the presence of 4 Monte Carlo-bound podiums where the overall tally is 98.
Clearly, Monaco hasn’t been a great hunting ground for the man who won his maiden race for Ferrari whilst driving in red racing overalls: 2010 Bahrain GP!
The only saving grace, if you were to put it like that, is that of his four Monaco podiums, two have been race wins: one each in 2006 and 2007, the former coming in the year of his first (of the two) world championship.
But if Alonso can rise back from the further far end of the grid to reach a position inside the points, he can surely put years of experience together to muster something exquisite and daunting at a track where he must correct an ordinary record.
Though for that to happen, the key prelude shall be the all-important Saturday; will the Alpine assist Alonso in setting a belter of a lap and can the duo reach Q3?