If I were to ask the majority of the F1 Fanatics on here who is the best driver on the grid currently… the most probable answer would be Fernando Alonso almost unquestionably; being mostly renowned for his completion as a driver.
Several occasions I’ve got caught up thinking about his previous race wins & they have had one thing in common: Alonso benefiting from others’ being unfortunate, slow pit-stops & mechanical failures in particular, let’s have an insight into how Alonso has claimed his last four victories:
Korea 2010 – Started P3, Webber & Rosberg collide after Webber went wide onto the astroturf & collected Rosberg on the 2nd RACING LAP of the race which promoted Alonso & Hamilton to 2nd & 3rd respectively, a poor pit-stop from Ferrari saw Alonso demoted to 3rd before taking it back after the safety car period when Hamilton ran wide at T1. Vettel, Alonso & Hamilton would remain 1st, 2nd & 3rd until the final 10 laps when Vettel reported of an engine problem, which saw Alonso overtake Vettel down to T1 & then the Renault engine, spectacularly blowing. Alonso would go on to win the race a good 15 seconds from Hamilton.
Silverstone 2011 – Started P3, remained a distant 3rd in mixed conditions to say the least, got the undercut on Webber as the track dried out for the 2nd stint but fell behind Hamilton & remained behind him for a few laps due to the McLaren having it’s tyres up to the optimum temperature before re-passing Hamilton & pulling away.
As the 2nd round of pit-stops came, Vettel had a sluggy pit-stop with problems with the jack (I believe), Alonso & Hamilton get in front, dropping Vettel to P3 (Webber P4). After a brief attack from Hamilton, Alonso began to extend his lead from Hamilton as the McLaren began to hold up Vettel, ultimately the gap would be 14-16 seconds, with Alonso matching If not bettering the Red Bull’s pace once Vettel cleared Hamilton in the 3rd round of pit-stops, Alonso would go on to win the race.
Malaysia 2012 – Started P9 in a F2012 head and shoulders below where Ferrari wanted it to be at the time. All teams anticipated heavy rain so drivers would start on inters on a short-lived dry track, think he was around P5 or P4 either splitting the Red Bulls or just behind them, Perez, his challenger for the race win eventually, came in for extreme-wets much earlier than the front-runners & gained significantly as the rain came down, moving himself up to P3 with Alonso behind in P4, the track dried out & the track was ready for inters again, McLaren as usual this season had a slow pit-stop in the form of Hamilton therefore Perez & Alonso gained as a result; moving up to P1 & P2 respectively with Hamilton in P4, Button on the other hand suffered (he would later lose likely valuable points in a mis-judgement with a backmarker). Perez’s lead would only be for two corners after a mistake in the exit of T2, gifting Alonso the race lead & this lead would be extended until the end of the penultimate stint which saw Perez reduce his lead by a reasonable to relatively high amount every lap. The track was ready for slicks, Alonso stuck on the ‘faster’ medium compound whilst Perez stuck on the ‘slower’ hard compound, Sauber turned out to make the right call on the choice of dry tyres as the primes were more suited to the relatively green circuit now that all the rubber had been washed away by the torrential, persistent rain it must be said. Perez would arguably gain even more time on Alonso per lap until he made a mistake 6 laps before the end by running wide at the precarious penultimate corner when right behind Alonso’s gearbox. Alonso would go on to win the race from Perez, who brought the gap back down to under 3 seconds with Hamilton a distant 3rd just in front of Webber.
Valencia 2012 – The most recent race, I don’t think I need to elaborate further.
The last win Alonso had ‘on merit’ was on the back of an impressive victory in front of the Tifosi (Monza 2010), in Singapore 2010, starting from an immaculate pole position, winning from start to finish, leading every lap & fastest lap, in other words, a grand-chelem. All of that whilst flawlessly fending off a faster Vettel in the 2nd stint however you could even argue that Alonso gained from a mistake from rivals during the race weekend: in the form of Vettel touching the barriers on his final qualifying effort however I don’t think we should take anything away from Alonso on that one.
@mnmracer‘s ‘Alternative History’ posts got me thinking more about it & I thought about posting one of my own regarding Alonso. Perhaps him being gifted is partly the story of his long, brilliant career take a look at some of the histories in @mnmracer‘s alternative world:
I truly respect his efforts but you’ve got to take into the account that anything else could have happened had those particular ‘misfortunes’ not occur, Alonso might have had all the misfortune or some other driver & being unfortunate is not only part of sport but also part of being human however what I find quite plausible is the ‘gain’ Alonso had in all of those articles, which is honestly something I agree with. In addition, the statistics in the articles suggest Hamilton & Raikkonen are better drivers than what their REAL results illustrate & closer to Alonso If not better drivers than HIM. Interestingly, Webber, Raikkonen & Hamilton, who have been Alonso’s title rivals before have all been given the title ‘the unluckiest driver on the grid’ at some point in their careers, whilst Alonso himself hasn’t.
From my perspective, I am mystified why no other person had even realised this or at least thought to point out: no other fanatic (perhaps albeit @mnmracer), no pundit or commentator at either BBC or Sky, perhaps they are not trying to take anything away from Alonso & giving the credit he deserves in all of the race wins by just keeping quiet. In conclusion, the past is the past & you make your own luck, I don’t think all of this should take away Alonso’s other achievements (2011 season for example) & him being able to take full advantage of others’ mistakes/misfortunes although results can be very deceptive & questions remains. Had the alternative world of no misfortune DID exist, will Fernando Alonso be the driver he is slated as been today? Would either Raikkonen or Hamilton be three time world champions?
Anyway as for being in reality, an amusing warning to Hamilton & Vettel this season, If Alonso is in an inferior car & happens to be right behind you on the track or pits, make sure your equipment is very reliable & reduce the possbility of human error. It’s all controversial but Formula 1 is all of controversy!