Fernando Alonso (eventually) joins elite company as he reaches 100 F1 podiums

A resurgent Fernando Alonso has moved into an exclusive club in F1 history as he reached 100 podiums at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Aston Martin driver finished just behind the Red Bull pairing of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen for the second consecutive race on Sunday. However, it took a while for his P3 to be confirmed.

At the start of the Saudi Arabian GP, Alonso had incorrectly parked in his grid position. This saw the Spaniard receive a five-second penalty as a result, which he served during his sole pit stop. Unfortunately, though, there was an investigation into whether his mechanics had touched his car before the five-second penalty had elapsed.

After the race, officials deemed that there had been an infringement, so Alonso got a further ten-second punishment. This demoted him to fourth and promoted Mercedes’ George Russell onto the podium.

But race directors changed their minds once more a few hours later. Following an appeal by Aston Martin, they reinstated Alonso to confirm his top 3 finish.

Fernando Alonso now joins an elite group of F1 drivers with 100 podiums.

100 F1 podiums: Fernando Alonso joins the club

Thanks to his P3 on Sunday, Fernando Alonso is the sixth driver in Formula 1 history to hit the 100-podiums mark. Unsurprisingly, the other five drivers are also legends and world champions in their own right.

Just ahead of Alonso is former Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen. The 2007 world champ finished in the top three on 103 occasions throughout his F1 career. He is just a handful of spots behind Alain Prost, who has 106 podiums.

There is then a bit of a gap up to the top three on the list. Sebastian Vettel, a long-time title rival of Alonso’s during the early 2010s, has 122. His compatriot, seven-time champ Michael Schumacher, is even farther ahead, on 155 podiums. But even he is a large distance from the top spot.

With a staggering 191 appearances in the top 3, Lewis Hamilton has by far and away the most podiums in the sport’s history.

So, Alonso is unlikely to catch Hamilton’s incredible record. However, considering the strength of his AMR23, matching Alain Prost on 106 podiums is not out of the question.

Aston Martin had another strong showing in the second round of the 2023 season.

Saudi Arabian GP: Red Bull dominate once more

Red Bull earned their second-straight one-two finish as Sergio Perez took the chequered flag on Sunday night.

The Mexican claimed his first win since the 2022 Singapore GP ahead of Max Verstappen.

Verstappen himself produced a storming drive to guide his car to P2 after starting 15th. He carved through the field in his RB19, passing Ferraris, Mercedes, and Aston Martins with apparent ease. Again, this was a hammer blow to Red Bull’s rivals who had started ahead of the Dutchman.

Fernando Alonso once again drove brilliantly to earn another podium for Aston Martin. Sadly, his teammate Lance Stroll could not bring home more points as he had to retire on lap 16.

Meanwhile, Mercedes enjoyed a more positive showing in Jeddah. George Russell – who at one point had a podium spot – finished fourth, with Lewis Hamilton just behind in fifth.

Charles Leclerc initially fought back well from his ten-place grid penalty to get up to seventh. But an unfortunately timed safety car scuppered Ferrari’s strategy. So, the Monegasque ended up with seventh from his first finish of 2023. This was just behind teammate Carlos Sainz, who was sixth.

Rounding out the top ten were Alpine pair Esteban Ocon (P8) and Pierre Gasly (P9). Finally, Haas enjoyed their first points of the season with Kevin Magnussen coming home in tenth.

Featured image credit: Getty