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Analysis

Why Alonso's eyes have returned to his first motorsport prize

Fernando Alonso has put his ‘triple crown’ quest on hold as he returns to Formula 1 with Alpine. Despite needing further surgery on the jaw fracture he sustained pre-season, he reckons he’s driving better than ever

One particular Fernando Alonso cliche was on full display during his 2021 test-ending race simulation. His run of 17 laps on the C4 tyres, followed by 10 on the harder C3s, was relentlessly consistent. For lap after lap, he circulated the Bahrain track with metronomic precision, never once deviating from the 1m37s bracket on the red-walled rubber, then did likewise on the yellow-coloured mediums, getting down to the 1m36s as the fuel in his Alpine A521 burned off. 

Finally, the session drew to an end. It had been dominated by Max Verstappen’s duel with Yuki Tsunoda over testing’s top time, but Alonso’s run to the flag felt significant – it was the first public long run of his Formula 1 return, and Daniel Ricciardo was doing likewise for McLaren. The electric-blue Alpine and the papaya-orange McLaren weren’t competing, but the drivers at their respective wheels are central to each other’s current stories.

Previous article Hamilton: 2021 doesn’t feel like my final season in F1
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