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Alonso turns 40 and recalls the day he became F1's youngest winner

Alonso turns 40 and recalls the day he became F1's youngest winner

F1 News

Alonso turns 40 and recalls the day he became F1's youngest winner

Alonso turns 40 and recalls the day he became F1's youngest winner
Sam Hall & Will Gray

Fernando Alonso has become the latest F1 driver to join the '40 club' as he celebrated a landmark birthday on Thursday.

After shrugging it off as "a bigger number than I feel", the two-time champion discussed how he has changed since he broke a 43-year-old record in Hungary 18 years ago.

Alonso still has 10 months to wait before he becomes one of F1's oldest 100 drivers - a list that F1's current oldest star Kimi Raikkonen has already joined - but in 2003 the two were in the infancy of their careers.

Alonso had returned to action with Renault after a year on the sidelines following his debut season with Minardi in 2001, and at the Hungaroring, he toppled the record of Bruce McLaren to become the youngest F1 race winner.

Asked if he imagined at that time that he would still be racing in F1 at the age of 40, Alonso said: "No, probably not, because you live only the present, you are not thinking too much about the future at that age.

"You are just focused on the race weekend and you hardly imagine yourself more than two or three years in time from that moment.

"Now, I am more used to the sport, to Formula 1, and to all the things that are quite unique here.

"When I came into the sport I was from a very small town in the north of Spain with no background, and you arrive into this world and are shocked for five, six, seven years until you are used to everything."

Alonso hoping for birthday weekend success

That victory at the Hungaroring ended a 20-year barren spell for Renault as a works team and was the start of a long and successful journey for Alonso, with world championship success coming in 2005 and 2006.

Alonso went on to race for Ferrari and McLaren but returned to the Renault fold this season, joining the re-branded Alpine squad after a two-year sabbatical, and the team has decorated its motorhome this weekend in his honour.

Hoping to continue a five-race scoring streak on Sunday and added: "I feel not 40, for sure.

"It is the number but it’s surprising me as well when I see it everywhere in the motorhome. It’s a bigger number than what I feel, but it is the way it is.

"This weekend I am a little bit confused [on performance]. The midfield looks a little bit more competitive.

"We will have to execute a perfect weekend. If we want to score points it is going to be harder than the last five races."

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