Jul.8 (GMM/Inautonews.com) As he races away with the 2012 championship at the wheel of a still-inferior car, Fernando Alonso is being hailed almost universally within the F1 paddock.
The season began disastrously for Ferrari with the ailing F2012, but as the technical boffins set to work on its weaknesses, the Spaniard at the wheel was always flawlessly consistent.
Totally outclassed in Australia, he still finished fifth, he is the only driver to have won more than one grand prix so far, and Alonso has never been outside of the points at the chequer.
The result is a 20-point lead as the mid-season point nears, and on Sunday he will start a race from pole position for the first time in two years.
“Alonso does more things right than any other driver in the field,” former Williams co-owner Patrick Head, on a rare visit to the paddock on Saturday, told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
The praise is just as shining from another enemy team — Mercedes.
“He is simply one of the all-time greats,” Ross Brawn said at Silverstone.
“He wins races he shouldn’t win, races that he’s got no right to win. And that’s the mark of a great driver,” the Mercedes team boss told the Guardian.
“He’s not had a great car this year but he’s on top of the championship. He has managed to get there because of what he is, the driver he is.”
The praise doesn’t stop there. Even Red Bull’s Christian Horner had to admit that – despite Sebastian Vettel’s utter dominance in Valencia two weeks ago – the Spaniard is the “obvious” threat.
It’s a similar tune even among Alonso’s on-track rivals.
Caterham’s Heikki Kovalainen said: “Whatever the track, whatever the conditions, there is always one common denominator — Fernando is always near the front.”