Fernando Alonso makes surprise claim about past confidence level

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso surrounded by Aston Martin mechanics. Bahrain March 2023

Double World Champion Fernando Alonso surrounded by Aston Martin mechanics. Bahrain March 2023

A double World Champion with 32 race wins to his name, Fernando Alonso concedes there were times in the past that his self confidence in his driving leant more towards “overconfidence”.

Alonso has, fair to say, a checkered history in Formula 1 with the Spaniard often bouncing between the hero and the villain categories. His results have followed a similar path.

A winner in his early days in the sport, taking the 2005 and 2006 World titles, it’s been a decade since the 41-year-old last sprayed the victory champagne – the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.

These days, though, he’s more the hero with the Aston Martin driver emerging as Red Bull’s strongest opposition with four podium finishes and P3 in the Drivers’ standings.

He was back at it in Monaco on Saturday when he took the fight to Max Verstappen for pole position only to lose out by 0.084s.

But with a front row grid slot, his second in a row, Alonso says he’s enjoying showing new F1 fans that his ever-present confidence in his ability, at times even “overconfidence”, is justified.

“It feels great,” he said. “I always had self confidence in what I could do in terms of driving – overconfidence sometimes – but that’s part of my DNA probably, but it is a proof maybe for people outside.

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“There were a lot of new fans maybe coming as well from 2014 or ’15 or Drive To Survive or all these things, that they only saw me fighting for Q3s or something like that or retiring in the race with some smoke at the back.

“So, now I think they are surprised that they see me fighting a little bit towards the front.

“But for me it’s just… it is OK and I’m enjoying but it is more enjoyable that people or new fans can see that we are fast.”

And fast is what was on display on Saturday.

Crossing the line in qualifying to go P1, Alonso’s mechanics celebrated a potential pole position only for Verstappen to turn their joy into disappointment when he completed his lap seconds later.

Alonso, though, reckons he left it all out on the track with the Spaniard saying he’ll try again in Singapore.

“I think both laps in Q3, we were increasing the level of risk into uncomfortable level, let’s say,” he said.

“And I think both laps in Q3 were… yeah… a little bit over the limit sometimes but everything went fine. Last sector seems our weakest part of the circuit.

“Already in FP3, we were I think eighth quickest team in the last sector, so there is something going on there that we need to analyse a little bit, maybe going into Singapore or wherever is then the next opportunity we have.”