McLaren driver Fernando Alonso believes that he is one of the best Formula One drivers of all time. His comments come on the eve of his 300th grand prix start.
The 36-year old will become only the fourth driver in history to reach the milestone in Canada on Sunday. With this, he will join the ranks of Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.
“I am one of the best to have raced in F1,” Alonso said.
“I am probably not the fastest driver in qualifying. I’m probably not the fastest driver in the race, or in wet conditions, but I am a 9.5 in all areas, and I try to benefit from that.”
The Spaniard is regarded as the greatest of his generation of drivers. Sadly for him, it has been more than five years since he won a race. At the same time, it has been 12 years since he toasted the last of his two successive titles in 2006. Interestingly, Lewis Hamilton has double the tally of Alonso’s victories: 64 versus 32.
It can be argued that Alonso’s career has been full of rows, and ill-advised moves. This has likely affected his chances of a 3rd F1 title.
He left Renault as the two-time world champion in 2007 to join McLaren. However, he departed after just one season after a dramatic fall-out with Hamilton and former chairman Ron Dennis.
Alonso’s hopes rose with a move to Ferrari, but a certain obstacle called Sebastian Vettel was in the way in 2010 and 2012. Soon, Ferrari’s patience ran out and he had to leave.
Alonso reunited with McLaren, but his second spell has been nothing short of a disaster. Alonso has always somehow eked out everything from the under-performing car. But there comes a time where he will have to accept he may never win again.
“There are some opportunities missing,” Alonso added. “I could have won four or five championships, but at the same time I feel extremely privileged to have had 18 years in F1.
“I have a lot of good memories. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but winning my two championships was definitely the high point.”