Fernando Alonso believes that his 2016 Formula 1 season was one of the strongest of his 15 years at the pinnacle of the sport, rating it the third best year of his career.
Although he crashed heavily at the season opener in Melbourne which forced him to miss the following race in Bahrain, he returned to finish 10th in the championship in a McLaren-Honda which was way down on the pace setters.
Alonso won the Formula 1 world championship in 2005 and 2006 for Renault, but these years do not make his list of top three seasons.
Instead Alonso reckons that his 2012 season, in which he challenged Sebastian Vettel (driving for Red Bull at the time) for the title in a comparatively less competitive car.
The Spaniard explained, “2012 is probably my best season in Formula One. Then it could be 2014 my second best. Then probably this one  will be on the final step of the podium so far.”
“[In 2016] I felt very confident in the car in every condition. Even the last 10 laps in Brazil I felt really competitive with 40-lap old tyres, things like that. That confidence in the car gave me the opportunity to drive at the limit on many occasions. I consider this year on a very high standard from my driving point of view,” mused Alonso.
As for his teammate Jenson Button, who makes way for Stoffel Vandoorne in the team, Alonso said, “Jenson is an incredible driver. Last year I experienced that and saw that and this year I was able to be in front of him many, many times.”
“Even in qualifying we are 13-5, or something like that, but in three qualifying sessions I didn’t participate because I had the penalty already with the engine and so I did only Q1. So that [difference] could be even higher than that,” added Alonso who will be looking to add to his 32 grand prix wins in 2017.