How Alonso rates against his rivals

How Alonso rates against his rivals

On his day the Spaniard has few peers, but the past two years have highlighted potential character flaws. Mark Hughes examines whether Alonso can be considered the best driver in F1 today

Fernando Alonso, unquestionably a very great driver. The best? Maybe. There are times when his combination of pace, fearsome fight, relentlessness and multi-dimensional brain make him so, times such as last year's Japanese Grand Prix. Pressing on while directing his crew with fairly complex strategy calls - that turned out to be right - made him look pretty special on a day when title contender Lewis Hamilton had made a ridiculous and unnecessary all-or-nothing mess of the first corner, one which involved the Ferrari drivers, thereby creating the perfect opportunity for Fernando to hijack the race. You cannot give chances like that to Fernando Alonso and go unpunished. He hooks onto them like a heat-seeking missile.

His victory two weeks earlier in Singapore was much luckier. All he had to do there, once his team-mate had crashed and brought the safety car out at the perfect time, was drive around in a lead he'd been gifted without hitting anything. Japan had to be fought for, in and out of the car. He was similarly terrific when taking second in Brazil, beating Kimi Raikkonen, although the latter's race had been compromised earlier on as Ferrari got him to drop back in an apparent effort to tempt Lewis Hamilton into racing against him.

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