Fernando Alonso is not just a Formula 1 veteran, he is an icon. In the last Singapore Grand Prix, he passed the record for most Grand Prix starts, reaching his 350th.
It’s been over 20 years since the two-time World Champion made his F1 debut, but at 41 years old, he’s still not done with the sport. Even so, we’ve seen countless incredible moments both on and off the track.
And out of 350 race starts, these are, in our opinion, his top 5.
#5: 2010 Korean Grand Prix
The 2010 Korean Grand Prix may be one of Fernando Alonso’s most underrated race victories.
That year, it was raining hard at the Korean Grand Prix. The weather conditions were highly unfavorable, and while many drivers suffer in the rain, it seemed to help Fernando Alonso thrive.
After race leader Sebastian Vettel retired from the race due to a mechanical failure on his Red Bull, the Spaniard took the lead. And while it may sound like luck was simply on his side, his lap times would suggest otherwise.
As soon as he took first place, with only 10 laps to go, Alonso extended his lead from Lewis Hamilton behind him from one second to 14.9 seconds by the end of the race. It may not have been his flashiest victory, but it definitely showed off his skill on a rainy day—and isn’t that usually the most telling?
#4: 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix
The one thing to remember about the 2012 season is that Ferrari had a bad car. They were struggling (and I mean struggling) against the championship leaders, Red Bull. But regardless, Fernando Alonso pushed that car every chance he got.
In the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, he qualified ninth. But on race day, it started to rain. And again, his win was defined by his composure in rough conditions.
While many other drivers crashed out or retired, Alonso held on and took advantage of the multiple safety car deployments. Within 15 laps, he had made it to the front of the pack and went on to win.
With Ferrari’s slow 2012 machine, hardly anyone expected Alonso to be competitive enough for a podium, let alone the Drivers Championship. But, he was.
#3: 2013 Spanish Grand Prix
As in 2012, Ferrari’s 2013 was still inferior to that of Red Bull’s. But, it didn’t stop Fernando Alonso from again challenging Sebastian Vettel for the championship.
In the Spanish Grand Prix of 2013, Fernando qualified fifth on the grid. But wasting no time at all, on turn three, he immediately went on the outside of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen to move into third.
With a series of right calls from Ferrari’s strategy (the good old days, right?) and an undercut that proved detrimental in moving up the grid, Alonso eventually made the lead. And as head of the pack, none of the other drivers were able to catch him.
It was a perfect way to start from fifth for Fernando. And the cherry on top was that it was his home race.
#2: 2005 San Marino Grand Prix
One of Fernando Alonso’s best races, in our opinion, was the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix for several reasons. It may not have been a flashy victory, but it was the race that confirmed that the Spanish driver will never be an easy target.
Alonso took the race lead early when Kimi Raikkonen’s McLaren suffered from driveshaft issues and was forced to retire. He remained unchallenged throughout the majority of the race. But, on lap 50, Michael Schumacher started to challenge the Renault driver.
For 12 laps, the reigning seven-time World Champion chased down Fernando Alonso. But even with the skill we were so used to seeing from Schumacher, his moves proved to be powerless against the Spaniard.
Fernando emerged as the race winner. And eventually, the World Champion, effectively ending the legendary Schumacher’s reign.
#1: 2012 European Grand Prix
And in first place, we have the 2012 European Grand Prix. This is not a new opinion. Many regard this as his best race, Fernando Alonso himself included.
As we mentioned previously, Ferrari’s car in 2012 was not their best. And on top of that, a bad qualifying session left Fernando to start in 11th at the Valencia Street Circuit. But, position meant nothing to him.
As soon as the race started, Alonso jumped all the way up to eighth, and by mid-race, he found himself in third. And after a safety car period that bunched the pack back together, the Ferrari driver capitalized and squeezed past Romain Grosjean on the tight street circuit.
Eventually, when race leader Sebastian Vettel retired from the race, Alonso had put himself right where he needed to be, despite starting outside the top 10.
This was arguably the two-time World Champion’s most iconic race win. After the checkered flag, he was brought to tears during the podium celebration. Another home win for Fernando, and his best one yet.
And now, after 350 race starts, the journey is not yet done for the 41-year-old, and honestly, we half-hope it never ends.