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Start Abu Dhabi GP
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Fernando Alonso

The lessons Alonso learned from his F1 title battles with Schumacher

Fernando Alonso has revealed the biggest lesson he learned from battling Michael Schumacher for the F1 World Championship in the 2000s.

Article
To news overview © Formula 1

Fernando Alonso is one of the few drivers to battle Michael Schumacher and come out on top, so it's no surprise the Spaniard learned a lesson or two from the German.

While Alonso is now the elder statesman on the F1 grid, that wasn't the case back in the early 2000s. Having made the move up from Minardi to Renault, Alonso became the youngest champion in the history of the sport in 2005, a record that's since been broken by Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso's victory brought an end to Schumacher's dominant run of five consecutive titles, but the two had to wait until 2006 to compete head-to-head for top honours. Alonso eventually came out on top, winning the World Championship by 13 points, and he explained what he learned from his battles with the F1 legend.

"Above all else, I learned one thing from him: never give up!" Alonso told F1-Insider.

"For example, at that time, it often played out that cars with Michelin tyres like us or Bridgestone tyres like Michael's Ferrari could have big advantages on the various racetracks.

"Still, when I was on pole, he was always second or third, and not sixth. He knew that if he could not win, he was satisfied with second place and adjusted his race accordingly. He was only thinking about the World Championship and that was extremely instructive for me as a young guy back then.

"He was always nice to me, we had a lot of respect for each other. In 2006, he was very emotional after the last GP, as it was his last race in F1 for the time being.

"He always gave me the feeling that he would give me my success with all his heart and that I should enjoy the title. He always said: 'Enjoy and have fun!'"

Alonso's first title came during his third season with Renault, a year in which Schumacher and Ferrari failed to reach the levels of performance they had in previous years.

Nevertheless, Alonso admits it was still a big deal to get the better of the German, though the triumph came with its own set of challenges.

"That was very special because as a team at Renault we got stronger and stronger," Alonso added.

"In 2003, we were already good, 2004 was even better, and in 2005, we were ready. I was 24-years-old at the time and I was able to beat the legend of our sport. That was earlier than I expected and made me extremely proud.

"But it wasn't easy, and my whole life changed in one fell swoop. It was very difficult to deal with. At that age, you can't handle all the emotions that are beating down on you every weekend."

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