2012 half-term driver rankings #1: Fernando Alonso

2012 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2012For the first four races of the season, Fernando Alonso had one of the poorest Ferraris of recent seasons at his disposal.

The brilliance of the damage-limiting job he did with it can be judged from the fact that he returned from the opening flyaway races just ten points behind then-championship leader Sebastian Vettel.

In Spain the team made significant progress with the car and they’ve made incremental progress with it ever since. Every step of the way, Alonso has wrung the maximum out of the chassis, and his team have lauded his efforts.

Early in the year it was all he could do to get the Ferrari into Q3, but he managed it, edging out Sebastian Vettel in China and Kimi Raikkonen in Bahrain.

It gets taken for granted that he will destroy team mate Felipe Massa every weekend. Instead it’s considered noteworthy if Massa laps within a respectable margin of Alonso’s times.

As has often been the case in F1 history, wet weather conditions offer the best opportunity to true greats in unworthy cars, and so it has been with Alonso. He emerged from the rain to win in Malaysia not simply because McLaren made errors, but because he was faster than them when it mattered.

Beat team mate in qualifying 11/11
Beat team mate in race 10/10
Races finished 11/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 657/672

Rain in qualifying at Silverstone and the Hockenheimring presented a further chances for him and he seized them, leading both races, winning in Germany and only slipping behind Mark Webber in the closing stages in Britain.

There have been few mistakes to speak of. The ill-handling car got away from him during qualifying in Australia, and he made a mistake trying to pass Pastor Maldonado during the Chinese Grand Prix.

And a clear shot at a podium was missed by Ferrari in Canada as they failed to bring Alonso into the pits early enough to keep him safe from the likes of Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez.

It is a testament to the standard of driving Alonso has produced this year not only that he is leading the championship by 40 points, but that some people seem to think the title race is already over.

Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Sepang, 2012The Ferrari has not been consistently close enough to the pace for the title to be in a foregone conclusion at this stage. But with Alonso in this kind of form anything is possible.

Arguably driving better now than he did in either of his world championship seasons. His Ferrari this year is certainly not at the same level as his Renault in 2005 and 2006, yet he leads the championship by 40 points, a huge margin. That is to his immense credit, especially considering how far off the pace his team were at the start of the season.

He’s made the most of every opportunity presented to him, either through the weather, the failures of his nearest rivals, or just incredibly smart driving, and you can?t ask for much more than that.

I’ve never been a big fan of Alonso or Ferrari, but the one surefire way to win me over is to do incredible things in a mediocre car. And Alonso has done just that, leading the championship after eleven rounds in a car that (to my infinite glee at the time) looked nigh on undriveable in Australia.

I think everyone?s list will be agreed on the fact Alonso is number one, he has been quite simply outstanding. Three wins, finishing every race in the points, it is difficult to think of an occasion where he has not got the best out of the car. And then when you consider what an awful car it was at the start of the year, and Massa?s performance in comparison it is really astounding he leads the championship at the halfway point.

Fernando Alonso 2012 form guide

Driver rankings

Browse all driver ranking articles

Images ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

Advert | Go Ad-free


66 comments on 2012 half-term driver rankings #1: Fernando Alonso

  1. Malibu_GP said on 17th August 2012, 20:36

    I think it is clear that I tend to lean towards cheering for LH. However, that does not and has never stopped Me from recognising the force that is Fernando Alonso. I watched in awe when as a mere lad, he challenged the great Schumacher. As well, I know better than to ever discount his abilities on any given Sunday. Such skill demands respect. None can deny His brilliance, Just as no-one can deny Lewis’s (tho many try). It remains to be seen what the 2nd half of 2012 will bring. One thing is certain though…, Alonso will be a factor. As always

    • Nickpkr said on 17th August 2012, 22:29

      Exactly Lewis at his best in the best car but clearly not being enough and btw Ferrari has also made mistakes for Alonso so is not been all that perfect, he is missing at least one more win and a podium….
      Now on the Ferrari dog is what ALONSO wants people to think, that he is the best is quite heavy psycology if you remember Vettel last year, there have not being one time when Alonso or Ferrari has compliment the car, which seems to me an actual strategy.
      Whatever it is, is working allrigth !

  2. tvm (@) said on 17th August 2012, 23:23

    Alonso is a great driver no doubt.

    Unfortunately he is forever stained from the 2008 season, nothing short of a true gentleman act can ever wear that of. Hasn’t been there yet.

  3. TED BELL said on 18th August 2012, 14:52

    Now this guy IS one of the best alltime.

    When compared to Mansell for example as I said Mansell really is a bit overated.

    Seriously doubt Mansell could have done for Ferrari this year what Alonso has….

  4. KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 18th August 2012, 17:12

    Taking nothing away from Alonso.. He’s had a brilliant season, especially in the opening stages.. But I’d quite fancy Kimi Raikkonen for a good shot at the championship just by looking at some of the performances.. And I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of either driver…

  5. Just watche the first 4 races. You will see how unstable that Ferrari was compared to the other cars. It was the 8 th fastest car at best and Alonso was in the top of the standings at the end of those 4th races , some of them with rain where according to some drivers ” rain is the biggest equalizer” also stop talking about Alonso good luck!! That is rubbish! Alonso has had really bad luck!! He didn’t have a fast car at the beginning of the season!! He lost a win or podium position in Canada due to ferrRi’s blunder when they decided not to put him and he also lost anothe podium in another race. So stop talking about Alonso’s luck

  6. Punchy2011 said on 19th August 2012, 11:10

    I don’t think people are necessarily agreeing that the Ferrari is a ‘bad’ car. I think the general agreeance amongst us is that the Ferrari is not the quickest car in the field, and doean’t have the pace on average like the Red and Mclaren, and even the Lotus. Unlike the last 2-3 years where the Red Bull has clearly been the quickest car in the field.

    So I think its fair to say that with a car that is not the quickest car in the field to be where he is in the championship (leading it !) is an outstanding achievement. And clearly deserves to be ranked number 1 in the rankings.

    If he were in a Red Bull, Mclaren or even a Lotus, in my opinion, he would be even further in front.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 20th August 2012, 13:19

    Absolutely 100% Alonso. His qualifying laps in the wet looked flawless and controlled and keeping his calm in Malaysia while Perez was hunting him down was also noteworthy for me. I would have expected him to panic at the thought of being beaten by a relative rookie without a race win under his belt.

    I do think Ferrari have turned a significant corner with the F2012, both drivers have been displaying that, even Massa recently. Even when the car was hurrendously off the pace he knew it and did what he needed to do to limit the damage.

    Every champion is a worth champion but if he wins it this year that will be even more true.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.