Fernando Alonso says he is better than the other three world champions still racing in Formula 1, as well as Max Verstappen, as he prepares for his return to the sport at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The double world champion will make his first start since the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he drives for Alpine in Bahrain, returning to the team where he won his two titles in 2005 and 2006. This season will see Alonso racing against both well-known foes and new talent — including Mick Schumacher, the son of his former title rival Michael — but the Spaniard says they are not as good as he is.
“It’s going to be great and I’m looking forward to it,” Alonso told the BBC. “There are some young, talented guys who have been showing great performances in the younger categories and then we still have the champions who were here two years ago — Lewis, Sebastian, Kimi, even Verstappen who even if he is one of the young generation, he has already been racing at the top level for four or five years. So I think we have a very competitive grid and it’s going to be a challenge to beat everyone on track.”
But then asked if he still feels he is as good as those four drivers, Alonso simply replied, “No, I’m better.”
Alonso admits he might have to wait to try and prove his claim, however, as he isn’t expecting Alpine to give him a car capable of fighting at the front until next year at the earliest.
“I’m back in Formula 1 with the aim of doing well, obviously, and the aim of having the chance to win races and hopefully to fight for championships.
“We understand that this year it is not going to be possible because the regulations are a little bit different but basically the same as previous years, so I don’t see any miracles happening there. But I think in 2022 there is a chance with the new regulations mixing the order of the grid and we want to be one of those teams that surprises everybody. To do that we need to work hard this year.”