Alonso’s season – how good was it really?

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    First things first. Alonso was the best driver in the 2012 season, closely ahead of Hamilton and Vettel. That’s also how I see them in general, with Alonso slightly ahead of Vettel, just a small tad ahead of Hamilton.

    But now that the season is over, I must say that Alonso hasn’t been gracious during the season and at the end of it. It almost seems like he fears people will not think he is the best. And people, journalists and many fans alike, seem then to overesteem his powers into superpowers. But let’s put things into perspective.

    Here are my theories:

    1. Alonso said he always got the absolute maximum out of the car. This is simply not true, mostly in the very important qualifying sessions, where he insisted on that sentence quite a lot. Actually, his qualifying session yesterday was pretty poor all along. One also has to admit that Massa has been the slightly stronger driver in the last half dozen of races.

    2. Alonso says that Grosjean took his title away. But he was lucky quite a lot, and if he had won the championship today, it would have been deserved, but extremely lucky on the day. He had a a pretty bad today in general and still finished in second, thanks to a great start and then other circumstances. Today, actually, Vettel was slighty better.

    3. Alonso also diminished Vettel’s performances all the time. He doesn’t need that, saying that Adrian Newey was winning the title, and always repeating that Hamilton was his real opponent. It is true that Vettel has not yet reached Alonso’s level, but he’s getting there, and he might get there. It would do him well do acknowledge that.

    4. Alonso was always saying that he reached the limit of the car, all the time. Sounds like Senna talking, but somehow it is easier to believe the brazilian than the spaniard. You shouldn’t say that about yourself over and over again. And for all of us who watched the races closely, Ferrari’s race pace was en par with the best cars, in almost all races; if that were not the case, he would not have had a chance to challenge for the title. He is not that much of a super-driver to pull that off. McLaren’s mistakes really helped him to be in contention, too. The myth of one man outdriving his car is a little too good to be true, to the extent Alonso wants to make us believe. And indeed, most journalists and fans believe it.

    To sum it up: Alonso had a great season, no doubt. But it might not have been as superb as he makes it sound. And he doesn’t need to make it sound that way for himself, it’s just not very sportsmanlike from him.



    I agree with your points. He’s been the driver of the season, he got almost everything out of the car, he was very, very consistent, made only a small mistake or two (Shanghai springs to mind), and was amazing at overtaking.

    But yeah, the car wasn’t as bad as he makes it look. It was very, very reliable, a good all-rounder and a bit of a wet specialist on occasions. The team did very well on strategy and the pit crew was very reliable.

    Alonso was in the best team this year and they made better use of their car than others – unfortunately the car was just slower than some.

    So yeah, it was a brilliant season by Fernando, one of the best seasons anyone’s driven in a few years perhaps, but it’s a bit overrated by some people. Still, would’ve deserved the title and it’s a shame he hasn’t won a title in 6 years despite driving so well.



    First things first. Alonso was the best driver in the 2012 season, closely ahead of Hamilton and Vettel. That’s also how I see them in general, with Alonso slightly ahead of Vettel, just a small tad ahead of Hamilton.

    Same here. Who told you that Alonso was the best driver this season by a mile.

    1. Alonso said he always got the absolute maximum out of the car

    Did you expect him to say, at any point, that he under performed? Do you think Vettel or Hamilton would say that straight up either? I doubt it. In fact, Hamilton was so insecure when Button soundly beat him in Spa that he felt the need to post telemetry data online.

    Alonso says that Grosjean took his title away.

    Again, he was asked a question by an interviewer and feels that the incident in Spa cost him valuable championship points. Is there any problem with that?

    3. Alonso also diminished Vettel’s performances all the time.

    Belittling the achievements of your opponents is what any sportsmen does. Hamilton and even Whitmarsh were no better.

    4. Alonso was always saying that he reached the limit of the car, all the time.

    Again, what did you expect him to say otherwise?



    Why does the title of this thread suggest that we are judging how well Alonso has performed this season; yet all what the OP talks about what Alonso was said?

    You are ignoring one basic concept: Alonso isn’t screaming all these things out in the public. 99% of all the things he says is because an interviewer asked him, not because he is seeking for attention.



    He says the same things over and over again, to different reporters. It is clear he wants a message to get out there.




    He says the same things over and over again, to different reporters. It is clear he wants a message to get out there.

    I only remember him making the Newey comment twice; and I don’t remember him accusing Grosjean of costing the championship. Also, show me more than two or three articles which have him claim he “always maximizes the potential of his car” and so forth.

    He doesn’t say the same thing over and over again. But the fact that it bugs you more and you notice it more often when he says it; along with the fact that it is repeated over and over again on comment pages and forums might have something to do with that.



    @kingshark, he actually does say it every single race, and after every single qualifying session, too.



    he actually does say it every single race, and after every single qualifying session, too.

    The only time he talked about Newey was after Indian GP qualifying. Frankly, there’s nothing wrong with saying you got the maximum out of the car; what else to say? You under performed?

    I also find it quite interesting how the thread title suggests this is a topic to discuss Alonso’s 2012 performance, yet the content itself is all about things Alonso said when being forced to answer journalists.



    As an Alonso fan an watching him the closest from all the drivers on the grid, I’d take the middle way.

    I do believe, outperforming one’s resources is possible. I think there are men and women, who are extraordinary in the way that they are constantly able to dedicate themselves immensely to a subject and then perform on levels which just seems above 100%, seems unnatural, almost unbelieveable. Brad Keselowski, the new NASCAR champion, had a great quote on this topic lately in an editorial on NASCAR.com.

    I do think Alonso can go seven or eight races in a row not making a single mistake and do what I described above. That’s not ‘superhuman’ or ‘otherworldly’ – people say so, because it seems like that. It’s just total dedication and an ability to constantly deliver, wrunging every millisecond continuously from every situation. I’m not inclined to accept that this thing is impossible – I’d find it a weak-spirited approach. It would be like throwing away probably the most important lesson of my life I can get from Alonso – or, it seems, from Hamilton as well because he really flowed too this year, and communicated it honestly. They taught me that with this approach, *this* is possible. I will not deny this.

    After all, it is not even about Alonso – he was *only* the medium, who showcased this phenomenon. Flow. That’s the best word to describe it. I believe Hamilton also fought his personal demons in 2011 and was equally up to it this year – only that he was unbelieveably unlucky.

    I’m not even saying Alonso exaggerates sometimes – he does that almost unconsciously to galvanise his will to go on with the approach. He also makes mistakes after seven or eight races. In fact, he was a tad too slow generally by the end of the year, see Massa’s performances – but even that relative slowness seemed to be consistent lap by lap, meaning that he physically and mentally tired and was perfectly aware of it, so *only* pushed as far as that physical and mental state allowed him to push. He managed it well, I think.

    All in all, I really hope the greatest drivers are still not measured by WDCs. Moss is generally considered part of the line of the all time greats (Fangio, Moss, Clark, Stewart, Lauda, Prost, Senna, Schumacher) with no WDCs (four 2nd and three 3rd places, or vice versa). Clark *only* won two WDCs. The greatest, Senna won three. I’d just really hope others will realise the important lesson Alonso showcases which is unlocking powers in you (again, not ‘superhuman’ ones) to achieve things, people think cannot be achieved. All the greatest did that.



    Hmmm this seems like a thread that should get locked… Not a very gracious topic…. RBR just won the WCC & WDC and you try and belittle the great season Alonso had by complaining about things he has said? Seriously… if you want to make this a bickering thread, then I´ll pick up the glove GLADLY.. and just to start off… Doesn´t it annoy you that SV has to bitch and moan over the radio when he gets passed LEGALLY by Hamilton in Austin yet he didn´t complain about DRS in Abu Dhabi???

    Seriously dude… drop it… If you´re a Vettel fan… well be happy for your driver and be magnanimous about it… the way you are acting is the main reason a lot of people hate RBR… acting like the rich kid in the block… You know what happens to kids like that? They end up alone with no one to play with.



    I see that this is not the first time you try to bash Alonso by shoving words down his throat that he did not even say.

    I quote Alonso:

    We can win the title with a slightly slower car

    You responded with:

    I’m fed up with Fernando’s arrogance. It just doesn’t add up with the data.
    His car has had good race pace over the year, with few exceptions. And he proved not to be a qualifying god. I get the feeling that if he had done better on Saturdays, he might have won the title.
    The Ferrari was not MUCH slower than the Red Bull, it is disrespectful to say that. He has been disrespectful of Vettel the whole season, directly and indirectly.


    You shove words down his throat that he did not even say. He said you can win the championship with a slightly slower car. You manipulated his words and made it sound as if he said that he fought for the championship with a dog.

    Not to mention that once again, you ignore the fact that Alonso was asked the question by a journalist. He did not go out in public and scream for attention.

    Alonso stating the basic fact that Ferrari has been slightly slower than the pace setters, which is by no means an overstatement. You shout out at him and call him arrogant.

    Seriously? Vettel won the championship in an overall better car, get it over with.



    You REALLY have to feel for Alonso – he’s lost 3 WDCs in the last race by 1 points (old system) or 3-4 points new system (1.2-1.6 pts old system).

    Like the commentators said on Speed he’s lost more WDCs than he’s won and it’s gotta be disheartening.

    If he’s a half-empty glass guy, he will look at the fact that 2 of those 3 times, he lost to Vettel who can spin at the start of the race and still win. There’s no beating Vettel because you have to fight a lot of things to beat him starting with pre-ordained destiny. Vettel could have easily died today and instead won the WDC.

    If he’s a half-full glass guy, Alonso he can take comfort in the fact that Hamilton who is as good as he is has been finishing 4th or 5th and the same thing would have happened to Alonso had he stayed at McLaren. At least at Ferrari he’s competing for the championship.

    Nonetheless, hats off to Vettel, Alonso, and Hamilton for a fantastic season.


    Soph Morgan

    Where do you start with Alonso? What a year he has had and so unfortunate not to have the car under him that he so rightly deserved. He is the driver of the season no doubt about it!



    Alonso said he did his best.
    Vettel said he won despite some dirty tricks from the others.
    Who is bragging?



    Alonso has driven the best this year. No doubt about it. But IMO the F2012 is underrated. It’s not the quickest – hell on season average it’s probably 3rd or 4th quickest at best. The fact that they don’t qualify as well as they race clouds the picture somewhat, as the general public tend to look at qualifying as “the pecking order.” But there have been times when, in my opinion – the Ferrari has been the fastest *finishing* car. It doesn’t matter if you have a car that is 1s/lap quicker than the opposition if it breaks down before the chequered.

    I think that it is arguable that – although certainly 3rd or 4th quickest on season average – it’s been, on season average, the 2nd best car. I say this because it doesn’t matter who has the out and out fast car. It matters who has the fastest reliable car. Look at Valencia for example – Alonso didn’t have the fastest car there. Vettel did. But he had the fastest reliable car. Because of the Vettel and Grosjean DNFs, Alonso effectively had the fastest car that day – because we should discount Vettel and Grosjean anyways. Ultimately, they had no racepace whatsoever – if you get what I’m saying. Which is why I’m arguing, again – that it’s perhaps over the season the 2nd best car – or at least tied at 2nd best.

    This is why I don’t agree with people who have been saying “Oh Alonso has the 4th best car” – he hasn’t. He’s had the 4th QUICKEST car – maybe. 4th BEST? Not a chance IMO. Which is why I didn’t like Ferrari’s antics during the second half of the season – constantly telling how they were only 4th quickest. They were, but – well I’m sure you get what I’m saying by now. I didn’t think it was particularly politically correct to big himself up the way he did at the end here either, about if he had equal cars, he’d have wrapped up the title several races ago, etc: (skip to 0:43 to see the part I mean)


    But he has maximised his car – and that is all you can ever ask for from an F1 driver. Maybe towards the end he was waning slightly – but hey, give the guy a break. It must be mentally draining to be pushing so hard every race. I know I can’t even last doing a 60-qualifying-lap race on F1 2012! Lol.

    Driven darn well – undoubtedly the best he has in his career.

    That Massa has stepped up his performance at the season ending though – and kept it there – is perhaps slightly worrying. What would Ferrari do if – and that’s a big if – Massa is now returning to 2008 form, and actually runs Alonso tight for points during the first half of 2013? Like he did to Kimi that is.

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