The double F1 champion has chalked a hat-trick of podiums to kick off the new F1 season. This follows his switch from Alpine to in-form Aston Martin, who Max Verstappen reckons will win grands prix this year. 

Verstappen has also noted that Alonso should have more than his current tally of 32 F1 victories.

This is a figure hurt by the decline of Ferrari at the start of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014 prior to Alonso's ill-fated 2015 move to McLaren as the team hit its nadir via a turbulent engine partnership with Honda. 

That slump prompted Alonso to quit F1 to chase the so-called ‘triple crown’, with him twice winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, plus the 2018-19 WEC title, although he failed to snare the Indianapolis 500. 

Alonso says his LMP1 sportscar achievements for Toyota should have proved his speed had not diminished in his time away from F1, despite him only achieving one podium upon his topflight return with Alpine in 2021.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing, Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando

Alonso said: “It hasn't been that long [since I had a realistic chance of winning races].  

“I know that people always think that I've been in the darkest tunnel for decades [but] I've been world champion four years ago [with Toyota in the WEC].  

“I know it's not F1, but our world is not about only F1. You know, there are many beautiful things in motorsport.  

“I'd been winning and dominating in WEC just four years ago.  

“I've been fighting for podiums for the last two years with Alpine. I've been fighting for even pole positions in Australia last year, first row on the grid in Canada like eight months ago.” 

Alonso added that there were indeed “special circumstances” following his move to Aston Martin that have thrust him back into the limelight, but that previously he had not been uncompetitive. 

He continued: “I never felt that I was out of Q1 for 10 years, and now suddenly I became alive.  

“I've been always competitive and hopefully now I'm a little bit more so.  

“But until your win, it doesn't change much, to finish seventh or to finish third, or to finish second, or to finish 11th. It doesn't change that - you win or you lose.” 

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