The Races That Defined Fernando Alonso’s Career

After 17 seasons in Formula 1, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso has made the decision to leave the sport.

During his time in Formula 1, Alonso has produced some phenomenal drives but these four stand out as the races that have defined his successful career.

 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix – Start of Great Things

On 23rd March 2003, a young Spaniard headed the Formula 1 grid for the very first time. Alonso who was just 22 years old broke the then record for the youngest driver to ever lead a Grand Prix, the previous record having remained since 1951.

Ultimately, Alonso’s Renault was no match for Kimi Raikkonen’s McLaren who went on to win his first Formula 1 race.

However, Alonso did manage to hold on to third place to score the first of his 97 podiums.

 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix – Breakthrough Win

Fortunately for Fernando Alonso, he wouldn’t have to wait long for his turn to stand on the top step of the podium.

At the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, the Spaniard once again started from pole and more importantly for the Hungaroring – on the clean side of the track.

The Renault driver had a clean get away and pulled away from the rest of the field. He eventually finished 16 seconds ahead of second place man Kimi Raikkonen and even managed to lap Michael Schumacher on his route to victory.

Alonso became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix – a record that he held for 5 years until it was beaten by Sebastian Vettel at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

2005 Brazilian Grand Prix – First World Championship

2005 was a significant year for Formula 1 – the Ferrari and Schumacher dominance that had defined the sport in the early 2000s finally came to an end, a feat that was accomplished by none other than one Fernando Alonso.

In a 19 round championship, Alonso achieved 6 poles, 7 wins and 15 podiums. These accolades could only have meant one thing – a Formula 1 World Championship.

The current 37 year old wrapped up the championship with 2 races to spare – not a bad way to win you first world championship.

2012 European Grand Prix – Success At Home

A strategical error from Ferrari caused Alonso to start the 2012 European Grand Prix that was held in Valencia down in 11th place. However, as per usual Fernando Alonso would not give up without a fight.

He battled his way to second and when race leader Sebastian Vettel retired with an alternator failure, the Spaniard took over as the race leader and went on to win with a 6 second margin.

As fate would have it, the then Ferrari driver ran out of fuel on his in lap and ended up stopping in front of his adoring Home fans – the perfect way to celebrate a perfect drive.

Take A Bow

Till today Fernando Alonso remains the only Spanish driver to have ever won a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The two-time world champion has almost single handedly built the Formula 1 fan base we see in Spain today and will undoubtedly be one of Spain’s greatest talents.

Just eight more points and Fernando Alonso could very well have been a five time world time champion – a title perhaps more befitting of him.

Nevertheless, the McLaren driver can hang up his helmet knowing that his race craft will be studied for generations to come.