Last weekend in Qatar, two-time F1 world driving champion (WDC) Fernando Alonso became one of three drivers aged over 40 to have secured a podium with an undeniably mid-field car. The Spaniard has held his own against the likes of four-time WDC Sebastian Vettel and seven-time WDCs Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton during his F1 career.
Fernando Alonso made his F1 debut in 2001, driving for Minardi, and went on to win two consecutive championships four years later, in 2005 and 2006. In 2007, however, things took a bit of a wrong turn when he joined McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton. The Brit, in his rookie year, matched Alonso and then some. And over Alonso's nearly 20-year-long F1 career, his intense battles with Hamilton have truly stood out.
Describing his 2007 season at McLaren with his rookie teammate, here's what Fernando said on the Beyond the Grid podcast:
"In 2007, I think we both were not ready. Understandably he was not maybe ready for the fight because he was a rookie and coming into Formula 1...and I was, you know, not performing at my best, not really integrated with the team. For sure, we had all the fights together and all the stress together to fight for the championship, and we were not well managed at the time."
Fernando Alonso expressed his belief that both teammates could have done better and did not fully meet their own potential at the time. Within a year, Alonso made the move to Renault, where he spent two years before joining Ferrari in 2010. The two of them had a very short period of a year to really compete on an equal footing with the same car.
Fernando Alonso's move to Ferrari gave him a clear upperhand over Hamilton's McLaren, whereas since Hamilton's move to Mercedes, no other driver on the grid has really been able to offer him a challenge.
Here's what Fernando Alonso had to say about never again getting the opportunity to put up a fight against Hamilton:
"In the following years, I had the better package, I think, in Ferrari than him when he was in McLaren. So we didn't fight really and now when he switched to Mercedes, he had a better package and we never had the opportunity again to fight together. So that's a missing point in my career, but obviously, he's a legend of the sport."
Fernando Alonso believes Qatar GP weekend was his best since comeback
After a long wait of seven years, Fernando Alonso was back on the podium at the Qatar Grand Prix by finishing third behind title contenders Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The Spaniard was on top of the game throughout the weekend and all the hard work came to fruition on Sunday at the Losail International Circuit.
Here's what Fernando Alonso had to say about his weekend at the post-race press conference when asked if this was the win he was most proud of since his comeback:
"Probably as a weekend in general, this one maybe was the best. Because Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it was very consistent."
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It was the first time in seven years that Alonso and his former teammate Lewis Hamilton had shared the podium since the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2014.