Key stat: Qualified ahead, spent more laps ahead and finished more races ahead of his team mate than any other driver
|Beat team mate in qualifying||16/19|
|Beat team mate in race||15/16|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||854/1009|
|Fernando Alonso 2014 form guide|
With the equipment he had, it’s hard to see where Fernando Alonso could have done much better during 2014. The Ferrari F14 T was not a potential race winner nor a regular podium contender – though there were times when Alonso made it look like one.
The same could not be said of his team mate. Alonso utterly dominated Kimi Raikkonen, who was not able to force a result out of the car the way Alonso could.
The gap between the two champions was embarrassing at times. When they faced each other on track there was only ever one result – Alonso came out on top when they went wheel-to-wheel in Spain, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Alonso has been toiling away in increasingly uncompetitive Ferraris for five years and he has done it so effectively that it’s become increasingly easy to take his efforts for granted. Whereas in previous seasons he could sneak a win here and there, the F14T wasn’t even up to that.
But he remains fiercely hungry for success, and although 18 months have passed since his last victory there was little indication Alonso gave any less than a full account of himself even when fighting for the minor positions this year. His dogged scrap at Silverstone with Sebastian Vettel – a rival he seems to have less regard for than others – was proof of that, even if Vettel did ultimately break through Alonso’s defences.
Consistency remains the key weapon in Alonso’s armoury and week in, week out, he brought the Ferrari home in the top six at most venues besides those where its performance shortfall was the most acute. His two no-scores were both caused by technical failures.
On the few occasions when the track offered a chance of something better, Alonso invariably grabbed it. He led both the Red Bulls home in China, taking advantage of the pair being briefly delayed as they fought each other for position. It yielded a hugely deserved podium finish and at the time it seemed it might lead to several more, but the improving form of Williams put paid to that.
However in Hungary Alonso took advantage of the conditions and a little luck behind the Safety Car to go one better. Indeed, had Lewis Hamilton withstood Daniel Ricciardo a little longer Alonso might have pulled off a shock win. A superb restart and a long, 32-lap run on the soft tyres put him in the lead, but when Ricciardo appeared in his mirrors there was nothing he could do to stay ahead.
Slow, twisty tracks like the Hungaroring provided Alonso with the opportunity to take the fight to the Red Bulls. At Singapore he was just two-tenths of a second off the Mercedes in qualifying, and got ahead of the Red Bulls through the pit stops, but slipped back behind them after the Safety Car intervened. It’s doubtful he would have finished higher than the fourth he took in Monaco had he not had his ERS problem.
Results like this became scarcer towards the end of the season, prompting some to suggest Alonso’s commitment had diminished after his departure from the team was decided in the run-up to the Japanese Grand Prix. There wasn’t an awful lot to back this up, although a sluggish restart at the Circuit of the Americas did cost him a place to Daniel Ricciardo.
Problems at the team’s end were more often to blame for the drop in Alonso’s scoring rate – the retirements in Italy and Japan, the penalty after his mechanics lingered on the grid in Belgium and more time which was lost in the pits in Russia.
Alonso slipped to sixth in the championship this year, his worst position since 2009. But could he really have done much better in a car which even in the latter stages of the season finished a minute behind the Mercedes in the United States Grand Prix?
It’s not hard to understand why Alonso remarked earlier this year he would rather have more trophies and less praise for his driving. More of the former is certainly overdue.
I still maintain he’s the best driver of the field by a long way. He gets everything out of every situation, and he destroyed Raikkonen, who looked even worse than Massa compared to Alonso, considering he’s a very fast guy and a world champion himself.
Thankfully, Alonso is moving away from Ferrari – Ferrari just doesn’t deserve him.
How the rankings are produced
All the data I refer to while producing the rankings can be found on the site. They include notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, compiled data on car performance, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.
2014 F1 season review
- The Complete F1 Fanatic 2014 season review
- F1 Fanatic’s must-read articles of 2014
- F1’s most popular drivers and teams of 2014 revealed
- F1 defies critics as fans praise 2014 racing
- The Stats and Facts highlights of 2014