It has certainly been a sensational expedition for Fernando Alonso in Formula 1, from winning a couple of unprecedented world championship titles against his ‘teacher’ Michael Schumacher to securing a podium on merit with a mid-field car at the age of 40.
Alonso had to tackle his way through a lot of rivalries, including some intense ones with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel; the Spaniard lost the title fight on both occasions. Over what has been a career of glories and failures, which does Alonso rate as the best?
Well, some might choose Hamilton, and others Vettel. But for Alonso, it is neither. Instead, he pointed his finger towards Michael Schumacher.
Why you might ask? Well, the Spaniard had to push himself to the absolute limits in order to clinch the titles; the latter had emotions running high, especially with Schumacher announcing his retirement from F1. Yet, despite such an emotional final showdown in Brazil, Alonso defied the odds to secure the championship.
What did Fernando Alonso say?
During a podcast, Alonso opened up that more than a rival, Schumacher was a teacher to him. The Spaniard learned enough from the 7-time world champion to beat the 7-time world champion.
“From that moment (retirement announcement), it was a very intense battle. Even in Brazil, we fought for the championship and before starting the race, we were shaking hands with Michael and wishing him the best of luck on the next chapter in life,” Alonso told Beyond the Grid.
“But, we’re still racing for the championship. So, it was a mix of emotions there. And that was a special time.”Alonso further acknowledged that Schumacher was indeed his biggest rival in his entire F1 career.
“Absolutely. I think Michael was, for me, the biggest rival that I can see in my career, like a teacher, you know, for me in many ways because I was young and I was coming into Formula 1 and I found myself fighting for the world championship that maybe, I was not ready at that point to fight for such a big thing,” he concluded.
Overall, Alonso is still going strong despite his advanced age. What’s more, having extended his contract with Alpine until the end of next season, it looks like there is more to come from the 2-time world champion. So, are we in for a surprise, come 2022?