Fernando Alonso ready to spoil Verstappen party in bid for third title

It’s been 17 years since Fernando Alonso made history in becoming a two-time F1 world champion in back-to-back years, but the Spaniard is looking to break an unprecedented record by clinching his third world title before he retires from the sport. Eras of dominance in F1 come and go, be it Michael Schumacher’s achievements in the early 2000s or even Juan Manuel Fangio’s expertise back in the 1950s.

All F1 champions with multiple titles have one thing in common – they’re not often spaced apart too far. There are three drivers who share the record for the longest time between world championships.

Jack Brabham (1960-1966), Graham Hill (1962-1968) and Lewis Hamilton (2008-2014) all won titles six years after their previous triumph. Alonso would smash that record if he was to clinch his third world championship, and it looks a very real possibility from the package Aston Martin have put together for the start of the 2023 season.

The 41-year-old topped the timesheet in FP2 with Red Bull and title-favourite Max Verstappen seemingly fearful of what the Silverstone-based team could do. And Alonso isn’t lacking in confidence ahead of the new season, admitting he still feels capable of finishing on top of the Drivers’ Championship at the end of the year.

“I still think that a third championship is possible. I feel fast. I feel fit. I feel motivated,” he told Luxury London. “Obviously I want to win more races and I want to fight for championships in the future.

“I worked hard for that and, although it’s difficult to have a guarantee of success in Formula One, everyone that sees me working knows that I will give 100 per cent. I will not give up that easily, so let’s see if we can do it.”

He added: “I hate losing. I’m a very competitive person, so every Sunday when you are not winning, I cannot wait for the next Sunday, to have an opportunity to win again.”

The interview took place before Aston Martin took to the track in pre-season testing last week in Bahrain, where it soon became clear they were on to a winner. That may mean they need to re-evaluate their aims for the new season, with Alonso stating their goals coming into 2023 was to continue their fight in the midfield.

“I think being in the top 10 regularly will be the target, as well as fighting for some podiums when the opportunity comes up,” he added. “Knowing that the top three teams – Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes – were miles ahead last year, it will be difficult to overcome that gap in just one winter.

“But 95 per cent of the car is new, which shows how much work the team has put into it. We have a car that we can develop during the season to become faster and faster. This will be the baseline for future Aston Martin cars.”

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