Fernando Alonso reaches a milestone this weekend, starting his fiftieth Grand Prix. Since his debut at the wheel of a Minardi in 2001, the young man from Oviedo has enjoyed a meteoric F1 rise, becoming the youngest ever F1 poleman, the youngest ...
Fernando Alonso reaches a milestone this weekend, starting his fiftieth Grand Prix. Since his debut at the wheel of a Minardi in 2001, the young man from Oviedo has enjoyed a meteoric F1 rise, becoming the youngest ever F1 poleman, the youngest driver to set fastest lap and the youngest Grand Prix winner in history, after his dominant 2003 win in Hungary. To mark the event, Fernando answered questions about his career so far.
Q: Fernando, you made your debut in the 2001 Australian GP. What do you remember from that first race?
Fernando Alonso: My strongest memory is when I left the pit-lane for the first time in an F1 car, on the Friday. It was a brand new car for me and I had never tested during the winter because of the team's financial restraints. I was thrown in at the deep end, and there was a lot to learn in a short time. But I knew then that I was doing what I had dreamed of. It was a very special time for me.
Q: In your forty-nine Grands Prix, you have claimed a number of records: what emotions does that bring?
FA: To be honest, I never thought I would be able to achieve so much in such a short space of time. It is a nice feeling to have those records but when you are on the track, they don't count for anything. I am not thinking about the records I have got already when I am in the car. My focus is 100% on getting more results like them as soon as I can!
Q: What result are you most proud of?
FA: My second place at Barcelona in 2003. My win was a great achievement, but I think this was even better. To be on the podium at my home race, with all the team and also all the Spanish crowd cheering and waving their flags, it was an unforgettable experience and started even on the slowing-down lap. I felt very proud and humble at that moment.
Q: And which mistake do you wish you had never made?
FA: The error on my qualifying lap in Malaysia earlier this year. I was pushing very hard, I had set two good sectors and then I lost the back end in the middle of the most difficult corner on the circuit. I felt terrible after that one, because we had looked quite competitive until then, and our weekend never really recovered.
Q: How do you want to celebrate your fiftieth race?
FA: Well, a podium in Suzuka would be a good start!