Fernando Alonso makes major F1 career claim after Japanese Grand Prix performance

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso pictured after qualifying for the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Fernando Alonso was beaming after the Japanese Grand Prix and explained why he boldly ranks it right up there with his best ever performances in Formula 1.

While Alonso’s Aston Martin association started on a huge high with regular podiums at the start of last season, such results have dried up, with P5 in Saudi Arabia his best result across the opening four rounds of F1 2024. The two-time World Champion’s P6 at Suzuka though really put a smile on his face.

Fernando Alonso ranks Suzuka performance in career top five

Alonso had to see off late pressure from McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Mercedes’ George Russell, but was more than up to the task of ensuring he crossed the line P6, Alonso calling this “completely unrealistic” as he believes McLaren and Mercedes have faster challengers than the Aston Martin AMR24.

It is perhaps no surprise after all then that Alonso looks at this performance from P5 on the grid as one of his best yet.

“I think it was one of my best races, or my best weekends,” he told Sky F1.

“I think it was very complete and very strong, very solid since free practice to the race, maybe the best of the last year or maybe even top five of my career.

“But it’s going to be completely anonymous. Everyone will forget by tomorrow this weekend that we had.

“But I felt connected with the car, I think P5 yesterday that is completely out of position and P6 today is completely out of position. We are definitely slower than Red Bull and Ferrari, they are in another league at the moment, but I think McLaren and Mercedes are faster than us.

“Mercedes did experiment a little bit with the car, the starting tyre today and a little bit bold strategy, but thanks to that we capitalised and gained that position.

“And Oscar, maybe he was not having the top speed to really attack me. But I think P6 is completely unrealistic. So I’m very happy.”

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Alonso is being tipped as a potential major player in the F1 2025 driver market, with his Aston Martin deal due to expire at the end of the season.

He said he would use these opening rounds to decide if he wanted to continue in F1, and if so, where he would like to do that, and at Suzuka admitted that while it is important to enjoy his racing like he did there, finishing 44 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen is not “attractive”.

Asked if a race like that helps him decide on his F1 future, Alonso replied: “It goes either way.

“I had a lot of fun, which is great to keep on racing. I had one on my best weekends ever I think driving, and I’m 44 seconds behind the leader.

“It doesn’t feel attractive in the same time, so let’s see.”

Alonso sits P8 in the Drivers’ Championship heading into the next round in China, where he has twice claimed victory before around the Shanghai International Circuit.

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