The 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the last race of Spanish legend Fernando Alonso‘s Formula 1 career. Along with names such as Schumacher, Hamilton, Vettel and Hakkinen, Alonso’s name belongs in the pantheon of the best drivers over the last 20-25 years. He started driving go-karts at the age of three and started racing by the time he turned 5 (for the record, I didn’t even know how to tie my shoelaces at that age). He kept climbing the racing ladder and eventually landed an F1 spot with perennial backmarkers Minardi. However, his immense talent was on display inside those snail paced Minardis as well. He qualified a full two seconds quicker than teammate Alex Yoong for the 2001 Japanese Grand Prix.
Pretty soon, he was snagged by Flavio Briatore led Renault F1 team and went on to win two world championships with the team, bringing an end to the the Michael Schumacher juggernaut of the early 2000s. In terms of championship success, his post Renault career with Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren haven’t yielded the same results as before. However, he has cemented his position as one of the greatest drivers in the sport. As he walks away from Formula 1, here is a look at four of the best races of his career:
#1. Hungarian Grand Prix, 2003
This race officially announced that Fernando Alonso was here, and he was going to compete for the top spot in F1 for years to come. This was the first F1 victory of his career and he led from start to finish, lapping defending champion Michael Schumacher in the process. He was also the youngest race winner in F1 history then (a record since lowered by Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen).
#2. San Marino Grand Prix , 2005
One of the most iconic victories of Alonso’s first championship season. He fended off a furious charge from Michael Schumacher throughout the race and managed to win the race by just 0.215 seconds.
#3. Japanese Grand Prix, 2006
This race victory pretty much sealed the second of a set of back to back world titles for Fernando Alonso. After starting three places behind title rival Michael Schumacher, Alonso caught up with him and took the lead when Schumacher’s Ferrari engine blew up with 16 laps to go.
#4. Singapore Grand Prix, 2010
This race was the first and only ‘Grand Chelem’ of Fernando Alonso’s career. Now racing for Ferrari, he qualified on pole, set the fastest lap, led every lap of the race and snagged a crucial victory in the legendary 2010 title showdown with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel. The Red Bull was clearly the superior car of the two, Alonso however, managed to keep Vettel behind his tail pipe and cemented his position as the driver who can wring the absolute best out of any car.