Fernando Alonso has picked out his top three moments of the 2021 season in his first year back in Formula 1.
The two-time World Champion returned to Formula 1 after a two-season absence from the sport he grew increasingly disillusioned with in his second spell with McLaren from 2015 to 2018.
And while Alonso still came back into some familiar midfield territory with Alpine, there were some clear signs of progress with the team formerly known as Renault.
The regulations overhaul in 2022 and beyond also represents a fresh start for all drivers and teams, as well as providing renewed hope that the sport, eventually, can be much more competitive with the drivers themselves being the key difference maker.
@AlpineF1Team 🚨 pic.twitter.com/1V5BaZ8mc5
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) December 20, 2021
Alonso finished the year in P10 in the Drivers’ Championship with a total of 81 points, 15 of which came at the Qatar Grand Prix where the 40-year-old Spaniard ended a seven-year wait to return to the podium places.
But, his marvellous P3 at Losail International circuit only ranks second on his top three list.
“First, Esteban’s victory,” Alonso told the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com.
“I know I didn’t win, but it still felt like an incredible moment for the team. Everyone was very happy and I was very proud of everyone at Alpine, so yeah…. the win in Hungary.
“Second has to be my podium in Qatar, I had been waiting a long time for that podium, so that will be my second best moment of the year.
“And third… I will say it was Bahrain, the first race I was very excited, I came back to Formula 1 with the team, there was a little bit of extra pressure because a lot of eyes were on us, on that first race. So Bahrain was very special as well.”
Focusing on the bigger picture, Alonso envisages continuing in Formula 1 for “two to three more years” before taking on new motorsport challenges once again.
“I hope to race two or three more years in Formula 1, then move on to other categories because I love driving. It would be very hard for me to be out of a car,” said Alonso on a Spanish TV programme, quoted by his home country’s edition of Motorsport.com.
“I’m happy to be back and looking forward to next season. I was two years out of F1 but in other competitions, with the WEC, I did the Dakar Rally, I have always had a steering wheel in my hands, so I was not standing still.
“Nothing had changed, everything was the same. F1 is such a small world where it’s always the same people, it doesn’t change much.”
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