Mika Hakkinen finds it “incredible” to see Fernando Alonso continuing to succeed in Formula 1, more than 20 years after he started his career in the sport.
Alonso made his debut back in 2001 with the Minardi team, which happened to also be Hakkinen’s final season in F1 before his retirement.
After walking away from the grid at the end of 2018, the Spaniard made his comeback with Alpine in 2021, and shows no signs of wanting to quit any time soon.
“Fernando started racing in Formula 1 during my final season, so it’s incredible to see him on the front row of the grid more than 20 years later!” Hakkinen told Unibet.
Hakkinen hails Alonso’s “achievement”
Hakkinen is impressed by how Alonso – who won back-to-back World Championships in 2005 and 2006 – is still able to maintain the physical and mental strength required for Formula 1.
“He still loves racing in F1 and he made the most of Saturday’s challenging weather conditions to grab P2 on the grid,” the former McLaren driver commented on Alonso’s performance at the Canadian Grand Prix.
“It takes a huge amount of mental and physical strength and stamina to remain competitive at this level, so it’s no small achievement for Fernando to have been pushing for pole position!”
Alpine feeling hopeful for rest of 2022
Hakkinen’s remarks come after Alonso achieved P2 on the grid in Montreal, marking his best qualifying result since 2012.
The race itself did not go entirely in the Spaniard’s favour; following a good start, he slipped backwards after suffering issues with the car, and ended the day in P7. This later became P9 when he was handed a five-second time penalty for unnecessary weaving.
However, Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer has voiced his hope that the team could potentially achieve a win or a podium in 2022, should circumstances go their way.