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"It's a number," says Alonso as he hits 40

NEWS STORY
29/07/2021

While admitting that he didn't expect to still be racing at 40, Fernando Alonso says it's just a number.

Hopefully, the remaining celebrations as Fernando Alonso hit 40 won't fall as flat as Sebastian Vettel's party popper at today's press conference, the confetti covering the floor having completely missed the Spanish driver, who admitted to being startled by the noise.

As he hit the milestone - certainly as far as sports stars, and particularly F1 drivers, are concerned - the Spaniard dismissed 40 as just a number.

"I feel good," he told reporters. "I feel not 40 for sure," he laughed.

"It's a number," he continued, "but it's surprising me as well when I see it, when I see everywhere in the motorhome, because the team prepared a very nice decoration in my room and in the lunch area as well. It's a bigger number than what I feel, but it's the way it is.

Back at the track where he scored his first F1 win, back in 2003, when asked if at that time he had envisaged still racing at 40, he admitted: No, probably not...

"You live only the present," he continued, "you're not thinking too much about the future at that age, you're just focused on the race weekend. You can't imagine yourself more than two or three years in time from that moment.

"Now it's a different thing," he added, "I'm more used to the sport, to Formula 1 and the things that are quite unique here.

"When I came into the sport, I was from a very small town in the north of Spain with no experience, no background, no nothing and then you arrive into this world and you're shocked for five, six, seven years until you are used to everything.

"Now it's a little bit different. You know how things are and you're enjoying a little bit more."

Sitting beside him, Sebastian Vettel, who recently turned 34, was asked if he envisages still racing at 40.

"No, I don't think so," said the German. "As you asked Fernando, you never know. But right now, I would say no."

Asked about the Spaniard's return to racing, having gone off to compete in WEC and Dakar, Vettel said:" The first race that Fernando was back this year, we had some wheel to wheel, and I was actually smiling in the cockpit, because I'd been looking forward to more of it this year, and I think we had a little.

"I always enjoy racing Fernando," he added. "He won here in 2003, I was in front of the TV and I remember when he won. I think his talent is without doubt, the skills on track one of the biggest that the sport has seen, and he's done something which I thought was impossible to do, which is beating Michael, because when I grew up, it was like, Michael is the number one and impossible to beat and Fernando started beating him.

"I think that's an achievement and obviously he's had such a long career, so many different cars, so I consider it a pleasure to race beside him and fight him on the track."

Check out our Thursday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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