The high point of Fernando Alonso’s season came at his home race. An attacking first lap put him on course to score a popular win at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Following that race, the fifth grand prix of the season, he had scored two victories and finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel on one other occasion. At the time it seemed Ferrari’s star driver had a genuine chance of a third world title.
But it wasn’t the case – that May victory was the last of his 2013 campaign, which he ended as runner-up in the drivers’ championship for the third time in four years. That obviously wasn’t his goal but it’s an outcome which reflects very well on his performance in a year when Mercedes and Lotus drivers could have beaten him to the runner-up spot.
Alonso headed this list last year after almost snatching the title despite having started the year with a car that was some way off the pace.
|Beat team mate in qualifying||10/18|
|Beat team mate in race||15/16|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||799/968|
It was always going to be a tall order for him to replicate that kind of performance. In particular, it was a surprise to see him lose out to Massa in qualifying as often as he did.
But while Alonso usually didn’t command attention on Saturday he invariably came into consideration on race day. He rose from ninth on the grid in Belgium to finish second, and repeated the result in Italy.
On rare occasions starting in the pack caught Alonso out. First-lap damage in Malaysia and India ruined both races – these were the only occasions he failed to score. However at Sepang the risky decision to drive past the pits with a broken front wing turned a damage limitation exercise into a written-off weekend.
The run of races from Belgium, Italy and Singapore typified Alonso’s season. Starting no better than fifth he finished second behind Vettel in all three, able to wring enough from the Ferrari to be decisively ‘best of the rest’ but unable to trouble Vettel.
He had second in the championship locked up before the final race despite his points-scoring rate dipping towards the end of the season as Ferrari seemed to fall further from the pace. Sixth on grid in America was a real triumph under the circumstances, and Alonso showed he’d lost none of his mettle by holding off Nico Hulkenberg on the final lap.
Wet qualifying in Brazil gave Alonso the chance to put the Ferrari higher on the grid than it belonged and he delivered with third place, and said he would have been higher on the grid but for a mistake. In the race he had to give best to the Red Bulls but fought Mark Webber all the way.
The small mistakes Alonso made in 2013 accounted for a tiny fraction of the difference between him and Vettel in the final standings. No one should be in any doubt he is ready to finally take that third world championship when he has a car capable of doing so.
How the rankings are produced
This is a ranking of how drivers have performed in the 2013 season, irrespective of their form in previous years. Among the data referred to in producing the rankings are notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, compiled data on car performance, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.
Over to you
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Image ?é?® Ferrari/Ercole Colombo