Forza Fernando Alonso! P3 At Qatar GP!

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The oldies have no place in Formula 1.” “What are the old men on the grid even doing?” “Why can’t they just move aside to give youngsters a chance?”

When not so acerbic, then comments leveled against the veteran drivers competing in Formula 1 have only mellowed to so much as the following:

Can the experienced or ‘have been’ drivers deliver anything worth noting in Formula 1, the top flight in single-seater racing?

Well, truth is, whether you are an F1 purist who still watches the sport, but misses the loud blaring sound of the V8 engines or a 21st century motorsports blogger who can’t really be blamed for thinking that F1 is only about the newbies and the youngsters alone for his exposure in this Tweet-hungry, meme-making world has incomprehensible limits, Fernando Alonso will always stand out for you.

The man described as the Spanish Samurai will seem, by and large, like an out-of-syllabus question.

Been here, done that, gone for good and came back much too sudden and even conquered a podium?

Duh, what are you dude, one might concur!

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, for some, will mean that old man of the grid who once won back-to-back titles with Renault, a team that technically speaking doesn’t even exist anymore.

And if not, then he will seem like a T-Rex perpetually hungry to eat up other creatures on the F1 grid, a driver whose talent when compared to the others, seems Jurassic; too good for fables to be written around it.

If not, then the others would only seem, in comparison to him and his giant appetite for struggle, nothing more than mere miscreants.

Bugs to be crushed even.

And that’s precisely what Fernando Alonso and his mighty desire to flourish did on this unassuming Qatar evening when from literally out of nowhere did the Spaniard capture a P3.

A podium when the last he had bagged one was in his previous F1 stint. Much like a virtue earned in the previous birth.

Yet, what transpired on November 21, was a valiant drive considering not only did Fernando Alonso begin from fifth on the grid, but was contesting in an Alpine.

Ahead of him, a Red Bull and behind him, several cars down, another bull that must have wanted to wage a war under bright Qatar lights.

Yet, Alonso persevered. And persevered. And what he gathered in the end, transpired into his 98th career podium.

For the record, there’s just as much significance and value to a Fernando Alonso Podium #98 than a Lewis Hamilton race win.

How?

The number of career podiums Fernando Alonso has bagged (any between the top three) are more than the combined race entries of Nicholas Latifi (37), Yuki Tsunoda (20), and Nikita Mazepin (20).

Must it also be said that the true value of Fernando Alonso’s brilliant, hard-fought, blistering podium number ninety eight is much like the importance of a diseased, down-on-his-luck COVID patient receiving a booster shot.

Much needed for one’s life depends on it. Here’s how.

Fernando Alonso

Had Fernando Alonso signed of his comeback year in the sport’s highest ranked contest minus a podium none, absolutely none would’ve judged him. Making it back to a grid comprising twenty of the world’s foremost and fastest drivers is, in itself, such a huge thing.

But now that Alonso has proved, by virtue of his brave P3 drive at Qatar, a venue where he’s never previously raced in F1, has mighty meaning to it, much like the significance of seeing an Ali deliver a knockout punch to an opponent inside the ring, having been on his toes at one stage.

Had Alonso failed to capture a top-five result, the cynics who base their careers by downing others’, would have joined hands in rabble-rousing that the old man is no good at all.

Why did he even come back?

Now that a 40-year-old, not a twenty something, has snatched a podium in a midfield car and on a track he had no prior knowledge about, there’s more to Fernando Alonso’s P3 than being just a significantly superior race result when compared to that of the others’.

It still tells his opponents, think Tsunoda, Norris, Leclerc, Russell, and Gasly, the latter who the Alpine driver overtook with gusto in the opening lap itself, that never say never in F1.

It’s the classic case of the old dog still fighting with new tricks in an era that spares little for the days of the yore, where success is measured, perhaps recklessly too, in the immediate, wired in the now.

So where the “present” is concerned, then Fernando Alonso of Oviedo, Spain can breathe easy. In the very year of his F1 return, the Spanish Samurai, perpetually hungry for a good battle, has, at least, bagged a podium! A win might be in the offing some day, but clinching a hard-fought podium at his age whilst muscling his way through the field is no less than a feat.

A crucial one!

They won’t forget it anytime soon. Nor should the man who truly epitomizes, “Never say die in Formula 1.”

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