Fernando Alonso believes defending his Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix podium against Sergio Perez was harder than his iconic Imola 2005 defence against Michael Schumacher.

Aston Martin driver Alonso put on a masterclass in Sao Paulo by fending off Perez's quicker Red Bull, and while the Mexican was able to pass him on the penultimate lap, Alonso struck back on the final tour by setting up an overtake into Turn 4.

In a drag race to the finish, Perez ran out of road to overtake the Spaniard, the difference being 0.053s at the line.

Alonso's successful fight against a quicker car drew some parallels to his 2005 San Marino Grand Prix performance, in which he was hounded by Ferrari's Schumacher around Imola for the last 12 laps but managed to hang on for a memorable win.

When asked how the two races compare, Alonso actually felt his iconic San Marino win was more straightforward because at the time there was no DRS at the narrow and twisty Imola circuit.

"It was easier in 2005 because it was non-DRS," Alonso said. "Now with the DRS, it seems a little bit different and you have to play things a little bit differently as well.

"And tyre management was also very different than back then, where you can maybe push the tyre all the way."

The DRS overtaking aid then returned the favour to Alonso on the final lap as he punished a late braking manoeuvre from Perez in Turn 1, which set up a slingshot on the back straight.

Fernando Alonso leads Sergio Perez at Brazilian GP 2023

"Yeah, true," he replied when asked if DRS came back to help him. "If in 2005 you lose the position, then it's bye-bye, you cannot recover and here I had another chance.

"It has been introduced to provide a little bit better show and [this] is a good example of that, because you get overtaken two laps from the end and then you have another chance, especially here in Brazil."

Alonso praised Interlagos' track design for enabling drivers to fight each other hard, as the downhill Senna S that covers the first three turns allows drivers to take different lines and sacrifice their position in Turn 1 to then get a better chance at passing into Turn 4, which follows a DRS straight.

"When there is an overtaking done into Turn 1, there is a strong possibility that into Turn 4 someone will get the position back," the two-time world champion explained.

"That's why we see some very nice battles in races always in Interlagos. It has been a spectacular weekend, as always here in Brazil.

"Sometimes it's the weather providing this great show and I think this weekend without any rain or any weather we saw incredible races.

"So, there is something in this track that always gives a perfect opportunity for Formula 1 to shine."

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