Fernando Alonso has not been the most fortunate in his Formula 1 career, but the Spaniard still boasts two impressive world championships during his 20 years in the sport.
The 40-year-old currently drives for Alpine and has often found himself in midfield this season battling former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who has endured a frustrating start to the 2022 season at Mercedes.
Having won eight consecutive Constructors’ titles with the Brackley-based team, Hamilton has faced a poorly performing W13 this season, and with just 36 points to his name from five races, his chances of a record eighth world championship already seem dead. to bury.
Having endured similar frustrations in the last decade of his career, Alonso was able to compare Hamilton’s struggles with his own.
“This is the nature of the sport,” said Alonso. “Sometimes you have a better car, sometimes you don’t have such a good car and you still have to fight and make progress.
“This year we see that the driver is very important in F1, but not crucial.
“Lewis drives as well as he has for the last eight years. He dominated the sport and broke all records and 100-and-more pole positions. And now he’s doing a mega lap – as he said in Australia or somewhere like that – and he is a second behind So, yes – welcome.”
While Mercedes were expected to fight for the championship at the start of the season, Ferrari and Red Bull appear to be in a league of their own so far, with the two teams just six points apart in the standings.
Already 60 points adrift from the top, Mercedes have done their job for them if they want to defend their constructors’ crown.
The team is expected to bring upgrades for the upcoming Spanish GP that will supposedly address lingering issues with the car, such as constant porpoises. But whether it will put Mercedes next to their rivals remains to be seen.
When asked how important car performance is to modern Formula 1 drivers, Alonso pointed out that while the driver gets a lot of media attention, the sport remains dependent on teamwork.
“This is F1,” said the Spaniard. “It’s not going to be a fair sport in terms of numbers. This is a team sport more than anything else and we tend to forget this, especially when we’re successful. We’re so happy for what we’re achieving, that even when we try to share with the team, all headlines are for the driver.
“It happened to me when I won the two championships [in 2005 and 2006 with Renault]† I beat Michael Schumacher. This was a big topic but my car at the time was more reliable and performed very well and you can’t praise that package enough as the headlines will still be the driver. And it’s the same with Lewis.
“Having more than 100 pole positions in F1 is unthinkable. You have to have the best car and the best package for many, many years.
“We did magic laps sometimes and we were P15, and how do you explain that to people? It will be impossible.
“He deserves everything he’s achieved in the past, but this year is a good reminder that in all those records and numbers, there’s a lot of what you have in your hands as a package in the car.”
Alonso will now turn his attention to his home Grand Prix, with Formula 1 returning to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend.
The race starts on Sunday, May 22 at 2:00 PM BST.
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