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Brazilian Grand Prix 2023

Stoddie Straight: Was this the highlight of the F1 season?

RacingNews365's expert columnist and former Formula 1 Team Principal Paul Stoddart has reflected on Fernando Alonso's performance in Brazil and believes it is the highlight of the season so far.

Alonso Brazil
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

The Brazilian Grand Prix weekend was one of the better ones. Both the sprint and the race were quite exciting. I think the most outstanding moment of the weekend was Fernando [Alonso]’s last stint, trying to keep Checo [Perez] at bay and crossing the line for a well-deserved podium.

That was probably the outstanding moment of the season for me. It was just a brilliant, brilliant drive, it showed that Fernando has every single bit of the talent that we all know he's got, he hasn't lost any of it.

That was a champion’s drive, given the situation with the DRS and the fact that you saw in the sprint how easily the overtakes were made under the DRS, even in the Grand Prix the DRS was extremely effective.

And yet Fernando was able to keep the Red Bull driver at bay lap after lap and even a couple laps from the end when Checo got past, he managed to get him back into Turn 4 and hang onto the position over the line by a millisecond.

A lot of people, including me, didn't really know who had crossed the line first until we saw the official timing.

I put Alonso up there with the best of the best

- Paul Stoddart

Give Fernando a car and he'll give you the best performance of anyone that can get something out of that car. I put him up there with Lewis Hamilton, with Max Verstappen, with the best of the best. He’s a top, top driver despite being in his early 40s and was, my driver of the day without a doubt.

I knew on his very first race in Melbourne in 2001 when he bought our Minardi car home in 12th place and it shouldn't have even completed more than three laps.

Also, when he left us at the Suzuka race in 2001, he effectively put in 53 laps of just pure class qualifying laps, the only difference being pure load and tyre degradation.

He is that good. He has to be motivated, he has to have a team around him where he feels motivated. If you deliver the environment, Fernando will deliver the result. He didn't have much to compete with in terms of teammates during his rookie season.

But Fernando was fighting a car that was put together in six weeks and three days. It was definitely the slowest car on the grid and yet time after time he was delivering performances that far outweighed the quality of the car.

His future in F1 depends on how his fitness is and how he feels at the time but I see no sign of him giving up. So long as they keep delivering the car, he’ll keep delivering the results. He certainly hasn't lost anything, at least with his talent, there’s no question about that.

F1 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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