Fernando Alonso has cited his own career statistics in showing how continued success in Formula 1 is not necessarily guaranteed, with Max Verstappen on the verge of his second title.
Alonso, a two-time World Champion himself, got within a handful of points of winning additional titles in subsequent seasons after his 2005 and 2006 successes, and has been stuck on 32 career victories since May 2013 after taking an emotional win at Barcelona.
After taking second place in the 2013 World Championship, Alonso has only scored three podium finishes since – having driven a string of uncompetitive Ferrari and McLaren cars, with his P3 finish at last year’s Qatar Grand Prix being his first since July 2014.
The Alpine driver congratulated World Champion-elect Verstappen for the season he has had so far, and feels both driver and the Red Bull team will continue to improve together.
But given how his own victory and podium count stalled when the turbo hybrid era arrived, Alonso hopes Verstappen will have “more luck” in terms of sustaining his current levels of success, with both drivers having trodden a similar career path at their respective ages.
Alonso told reporters in Singapore: “He’s 24 or 25, no? So there’s still a lot in front of him, but I wish him more luck than me because I was also 26 with those stats and still have the same stats at 40!
“But I’m sure with Red Bull and how things look for the future, he will only get better.
“It’s very well deserved. They were the best team and the best driver by far, so when they win it I don’t think is an important thing, it’s just that they will. Whether it’s here or Japan, let’s see.”
Hola Singapur 😇 pic.twitter.com/yzfOae58ib
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) September 29, 2022
Verstappen could wrap up the title with five races to go if circumstances fall in his favour in Singapore this weekend, after going on a dominant streak that has seen him take five wins in a row.
But rather than thinking Red Bull have produced a better car than nearest rivals Ferrari, the Spaniard thinks Verstappen’s presence behind the wheel alongside Red Bull’s expertise is what has set them apart from the chasing pack this year.
“There was not much of a fight, no?” Alonso intimated.
“I mean, it’s an important season because we changed the regulations massively, so it will always be remembered for this new generation of car. I think Ferrari had a very fast car but Red Bull and Max were outstanding.
“There was no fight maybe because Red Bull and Max Verstappen were better than the others, but they didn’t have that superior car because I guess Ferrari’s is the same or better.”