Fernando Alonso has had a long and distinguished career in Formula One. The Spaniard has had a countless amount of brilliant drives since his debut with Minardi at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix. Here, I choose 10 out of many legendary drives in his career.
1) Valencia 2012
Throughout the 2012 season, Ferrari really struggled to fight for the top spots in dry qualifying sessions. It was no different at the European Grand Prix as Alonso qualified a disappointing P11 in front of his home crowd – and a win seemed impossible. Yet, a miracle happened on race day.
Alonso has been the master of gaining places on the opening lap of races and he quickly moved up to P8 to get into the points instantly. In the early stages, he seemed to be struggling to stay with the cars ahead. However, he was managing his tyres and overtook Hulkenberg and Maldonado move up to 6th before the first round of stops began.
A brilliant in-lap from the Spaniard, plus a tremendous pitstop from Ferrari saw him jump Raikkonen and Kobayashi to be a net P4 following the stops of all the front-runners.
Contact between Kovalainen and Vergne brought out the safety car and this was a huge help to Alonso. A nightmare time in the pits for Hamilton gifted Alonso a position on the podium. Things would get even better not long after, though.
Following the restart on lap 34, Alonso produced an absolutely stunning move on Lotus' Romain Grosjean around the outside at turn 2 to take 2nd place. Amazingly, on the same lap, Sebastian Vettel's alternator packed in and from 11th on the grid, Fernando Alonso led his home race.
From there on in, he controlled the race and took a magnificent win ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher. Amazing overtaking, great stops and superb tyre management gave Alonso and Ferrari a massively unexpected win.
In a car that didn't belong on the podium, Alonso delivered one of the all-time great wins in F1 in front of his home crowd.
2) Malaysia 2012
Ferrari hadn't built a quick car and in the first few races of 2012 in particular, it was a long way off the pace of the Red Bull, McLaren and Lotus. Alonso struggled to P9 in qualifying in Sepang and was over a second off the pole time set by Lewis Hamilton.
A great opening lap in wet conditions, helped by some contact between Grosjean and Schumacher, saw Alonso vault up to 5th. The race was stopped on lap 9 due to heavy rain which hit the circuit and left in undrivable.
On the resumption, Alonso showed his wet weather skills to overtake Webber for P3 and would quickly find himself in the lead as all the drivers switched from wets to inters. A superb stop by Ferrari and a slow one by Ferrari gifted the Spaniard P1, ahead of Sergio Perez.
The race became a duel between Alonso and Perez for the remainder of the Grand Prix. Alonso had built an almost 8s lead over Checo, but as the stint went on, Perez reeled him back in and reduced the gap to a second.
Ultimately, Alonso won the race by switching to dry tyres a lap earlier than the Sauber. Perez lost precious seconds staying out and despite catching Alonso again, he never looked like passing and a mistake at turn 14 completely ruined his chances.
This was classic Alonso. Outperforming his machinery and taking full advantage of the conditions to collect a legendary victory.
3) San Marino 2005
26 points from 30 left Fernando Alonso in a fantastic situation ahead of round four of the '05 championship. The first European race of the season showed the world that Fernando Alonso was more than ready to go on and win his maiden championship.
Following Kimi Raikkonen's early retirement from the lead of the Grand Prix, Alonso looked set for a Sunday afternoon stroll. That would end up being anything but the case.
A mistake in qualifying left Schumacher stranded in the middle of the pack, but when he got into clear air, he went on the rampage. In the closing 10 laps, Schumacher was all over the tail of Alonso for the victory.
Despite harrying and hassling the Renault, the seven-time world champion couldn't find a way through. It was a remarkable defensive display from the Spaniard as he was really struggling to have any sort of decent speed towards the end.
Most drivers would have cracked under the pressure of the scarlet Ferrari, but not Alonso. A superb victory by +0.215 in a classic duel between two titans of this wonderful sport.
4) Hungary 2003
You never forget your first and Fernando's maiden win arrived in Budapest 15 years ago. It was a weekend that showed he would be a future world champion as well as a driver who would win many races.
He claimed his second career pole by almost 0.3s from Ralf Schumacher and made a terrific start to lead the pack into turn one. Mark Webber in the Jaguar climbed to 2nd at the start and held up a bunch of cars behind him. It allowed Alonso to pull out an unassailable lead in the opening quarter of the Grand Prix.
Alonso made no mistakes or never looked under pressure as he eased to his first win. It was completely dominant and a total masterclass. He became the youngest Grand Prix winner at the time.
5) Spain 2013
At present, this race was his 32nd and final win. What a stonking drive it turned out to be as well.
Again, he didn't start on pole or have the quickest car in qualifying – but he got himself into contention thanks to a brilliant opening lap. He started 5th and made a spellbinding move around the outside at turn 3 on Hamilton and Raikkonen to immediately get into the top 3.
Back in the opening half of 2013, there was very high degradation on the Pirelli tyres and it was very much a traffic jam behind Rosberg; the Mercedes having the worst tyre wear of the top teams. Alonso remained 3rd, with Rosberg and Vettel in front.
The Spaniard undercut the Germans and managed to jump Vettel go be P2 following the first stops. Alonso used DRS on lap 13 to overtake Nico Rosberg into T1 and claimed the lead of the race.
After that move, the victory never looked in doubt. This was a race where drivers needed to be quick but to really look after the tyres, too. Fernando showed his adaptability for the umpteenth time.
He collected his third win in front of his home fans and the second at the Circuit de Catalunya.
6) Japan 2005
With the title sealed at the previous round in Brazil, the pressure was off Alonso and he drove a phenomenal Grand Prix to show exactly why he became world champion. A wet qualifying left him near the back of the grid with his main rivals, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen.
The Spaniard progressed from P16 on the grid to find himself up in 8th after the first tour of the Grand Prix. He overtook Klien (twice) and then made an outrageous overtake on seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher around the outside of 130R as he continued his charge through the field.
Strategy and car speed got him ahead of Coulthard, Button and Ralf Schumacher to see him P4 in the closing stages. Then, with five laps to go, Fernando made a fearless move on Webber on the start-finish straight; including putting two wheels on the grass, to gain another spot and get himself on the podium.
After playing the sensible game for much of 2005, this was a race full of skilful overtakes and bravery by the Spaniard. A drive equally as good as Kimi Raikkonen's on this magical day of Formula One at Suzuka.
7) Japan 2006
Having lost a 26-point lead to Michael Schumacher and heading into the Japanese Grand Prix level with the German, the pressure was never higher than it was back at this race for Alonso. Qualifying was a disaster, the Ferraris easily locked out the front row and fellow Bridgestone runners Toyota sharing row two. It left the Spaniard down in P5 and seemingly losing a grasp on his crown.
Yet, it totally turned his way the following day. He immediately dispensed of Trulli at the start and then passed Ralf Schumacher on lap 12 to run in P3 behind the Ferraris. He proceeded to jump Massa at the first round of fuel stops to move into P2 and looked set to minimize the damage to Schumacher.
However, more drama soon arrived. Just after making his final stop, Schumacher's engine blew up spectacularly and gifted the lead to Alonso. It equalled things out after Alonso's went bang at Monza two rounds before.
Fernando comfortably won following that dramatic ending for Schumacher and delivered at a critical time in the world championship battle. He required a bit of luck, but it was a first-rate win as it helped seal back-to-back titles.
8) Singapore 2010
There were two stars at this race under the lights: Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. However, Alonso took the glory with the victory following a classic, race-long duel at the front of the field.
The Spaniard took an unexpected position by 0.067s; a superb job considering Red Bulls pace advantage in qualifying during the 2010 season. Vettel looked really threatening at the start, but Alonso managed to hold him off.
From there, the pair of them were in a class of their own. They pulled away from the McLarens and Webber in a totally dominant display. They traded fastest laps and left nothing on the table as they fought for a crucial victory.
Alonso held on to win by less than three-tenths of a second from Vettel to take a stunning win in a brilliant battle between two of the greats of the sport.
Fernando finished 1m and 53s ahead of Massa as he wrung everything out of the car and himself. It was yet another demonstration of brilliance from the Spanish genius.
9) Japan 2008
Alonso has been the master of grabbing wins when an opportunity opens up and he did it at Fuji Speedway 10 years ago. He'd already done a sterling job in qualifying to beat the much quicker Ferrari of Massa to 4th on the grid. The race start opened the door for a chance to win.
Hamilton went deep into turn one as he attempted to pass Raikkonen who had got him off the line. Kovalainen out-braked himself also and this meant Raikkonen and Massa suffered the same fate thanks as Hamilton and the trio dropped down the order. It left the door wide open for Kubica to take the lead, with Fernando slotting into P2.
Alonso tracked Kubica in the opening segment of the race. He pitted two laps after Kubica and jumped him thanks to the extra laps of fuel he carried.
The Spaniard pulled away in the second stint of the race from Kubica and Raikkonen and controlled the race beautifully to take a brilliant win in what was a tough year for the team where they were a long way off the pace for most of it; even leaving aside the controversy of Singapore.
Alonso's brilliance shone through to beat quicker machinery yet again.
10) China 2014
Alonso has not had a car capable of winning in the V6 era and he's constantly needed to drag the absolute maximum out of it and himself to get some points or as in this case, a podium.
His performance at this race in Shanghai four years ago defied belief. In Q2, he was 1.1 seconds quicker than stablemate Raikkonen who got knocked out. Meanwhile, Alonso dragged his car onto the third row of the grid for the race.
A superb start moved him up to 3rd and he beautifully undercut Sebastian Vettel to run 2nd. Ultimately, the far superior Mercedes of Nico Rosberg got ahead of him. Nonetheless, it was a stellar drive from the two-time world champion to drag his car to 3rd ahead of much faster packages. He finished 53 seconds in front of his Finnish world champion team-mate and that tells you all you need to know about his performance.
It was one of many sublime efforts in the V6 era so far from the Spaniard. All of his cars have been extremely slow or underpowered.
Silverstone will be Alonso's 303rd Grand Prix weekend – but only his 300th start. He failed to take the second start at Belgium in 2001 and that was the only part that counted towards the race. USA 2005 and Russia 2017 are the other events where Fernando didn't start the race.
Congratulations to one of the all-time greats for reaching this huge milestone.