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Alonso: McLaren pain helped me to grow up in F1

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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-24-10 02:31 PM
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Alonso: McLaren pain helped me to grow up in F1
Reflecting on what was inarguably the most difficult, strained and painful season of his F1 career to-date, Fernando Alonso has revealed that he 'grew up' both personally and professionally during his time at McLaren-Mercedes alongside Lewis Hamilton back in 2007 – and three years on, he believes he is entering a far more tranquil and happy period, now that he has fulfilled his father's prophecy in achieving the ultimate goal in the sport.

“My father always told me this would happen,” the Spaniard told British newspaper The Guardian. “He said, 'If you race for Ferrari then you can retire – your life is complete'. After I won my two championships for Renault I said, 'I'm happy now – my career is complete', and he said, 'No, no, if you drive for Ferrari people will forget the championships – they will remember you as a Ferrari driver'. I said, 'Okay, Papa, we'll see'. Now I think he was right. Ferrari gives you a special feeling.”

Arriving at McLaren as the reigning double F1 World Champion, Alonso had expectations of being treated as the Woking-based outfit's number one driver to befit such a status, but he rapidly discovered – much to his evident chagrin – that ambitious young rookie team-mate Lewis Hamilton and the team management had other ideas, very much adhering to their unchanging policy of equality of opportunity between the two drivers.

What followed were seven months of bitter and acrimonious infighting, very public spats and even threats of blackmail , the end result of which was that neither Alonso nor Hamilton succeeded in clinching the crown that was there for the taking, instead focussing too much upon their fraught internecine duel and failing to notice Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen sneaking surreptitiously up behind them and diving out of the shadows to snatch the coveted trophy away from their grasp at the close.

Uncomfortable an experience as that undeniably was, the Oviedo native insists that it helped to improve him as a driver and to mentally condition him for anything that F1 might choose to throw at him. Good training, one might argue, for his 2010 arrival at a team historically famous for its internal pressure cauldron, intense, merciless media glare and maelstrom of politics and polemics – as well as for the increased attention the generally shy and reserved 28-year-old will doubtless receive all around the globe now that he is behind the wheel of one of the scarlet cars.
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