So far, Alon-so good…
They sometimes call him ‘Magic Alonso’, although that’s more to do with his fascination for card tricks than his prowess behind the wheel. But when you put this quiet, unassuming 28-year-old from Oviedo in the cockpit of the right car, everything around him lights up. The visor’s down, the engine’s on, and you’re sitting before your TV screen watching one of the finest magicians in action.
Fernando Alonso melted hearts everywhere when, back in 2005, he became the youngest ever world champion at the age of 24 years and 58 days. His season was one of glory, domination and hard-earned success – and a breath of fresh air for the viewers following five long, tedious years of Schumacher/Ferrari dictatorship. We knew very little about the speedy Spaniard back then, but we could all see he was definitely here for the long haul.
He’s a double champion, having fought off Michael Schumacher to claim the 2006 honours. There was only one point up for grabs in the 2007 title fight, and it was Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen who upped and snatched it from under the Spaniard’s nose as he battled McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton, both on and off the circuit.
It seems Alonso has made a bit of a habit of tussling with Ferraris for the championship. How ironic, then, that he should wind up at the legendary red squad for 2010 and gift them their first victory in Bahrain. I’d personally written the whole thing off as a lights-to-flag for Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, and was settled in front of the box with my pillow and blanket in case I should drop off before the first round of non-refuelling pit stops.
It would be wrong to say that the first race wasn’t something of a snooze-fest. Still, I couldn’t help but smirk slightly to myself when the Red Bull started to slow towards the end. Finally, a chance for Alonso to work his magic! Ok, so translating third in qualifying into first in the race is by no means an impossible feat, but the Ferrari boasted consistency all weekend where the Red Bull didn’t. It gave him that edge he needed to nip past the German and power away from Massa in the sister Ferrari. The chequered flag beckoned, and he took it by storm.
This is why he’s a double world champion – he takes full advantage of every possible situation, using anyone’s misfortune to his ultimate gain. He’s an absolute delight to watch, and you can almost feel his raw passion for the sport emanating from the screen. Anyone who’s a true 21st century F1 fan will remember 130R in the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix, where he flew around the outside of Michael Schumacher like a bat out of hell, already world champion by this point but still feeling the need to prove he was worthy. Many a driver could try that same move, and I would bet my right arm that they’d all end up in the gravel.
He’s already thrown the gauntlet down to his opponents, and it’ll be fascinating to watch him try to steal a third title this season. He’s more than capable, and he and Massa have already proved that Ferrari is once more a force to be reckoned with. Forget the Button/Hamilton battle and ignore Schumacher as well. The excitement’s up front with the red fellas.
Join me and Victoria on Formula1FanCast.com’s Fantasy League Formula 1 2010. Our league is called Formula1Fancast.com and the league pin is 722. Try and beat us if you can, but be warned we’re good!