Former F1 driver claims Fernando Alonso is a better driver than Michael Schumacher

David Coulthard has claimed that Fernando Alonso is as impressive as ever despite having taken two years out of Formula 1.

Having scored four podiums in five races, Fernando Alonso is in the midst of an impressive rival, powering Aston Martin into P2 in the Constructor’s Standings.

Alonso is standing in third place in the Drivers’ race, just 44 points behind title-leader Max Verstappen, impressive given the Dutchman hasn’t finished outside the top two this season.

At 41, Alonso is the oldest driver on the grid but, despite his age, he hasn’t lost his edge, remaining as strong and fearsome as ever.

The strong showing from Alonso comes despite the Spaniard having taken two years out of the sport only a few seasons ago.

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Alonso had walked away from Formula 1 at the end of 2018, frustrated with the underperforming McLaren-Honda partnership he was tied into.

He returned two years later at Alpine, partnering Esteban Ocon, before leaving for Aston Martin at the start of this season.

Speaking on the Formula For Success podcast, former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard discussed how Alonso shapes up to sporting icon Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher retired from Ferrari in 2006 but came back to the sport in 2010, joining Mercedes for three seasons.

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While Schumacher showed his skill at time during his stint with Mercedes, the German failed to rise to his old status with seasons filled with mistakes and disappointing performance.

Comparing their comebacks, Coulthard argued that Alonso has shown a more impressive run of form than Schumacher managed.

“When Alonso stepped away from Formula 1 the first time, he went straight into sports cars, IndyCar, he did the Dakar, he’s got a kart track and you see him out testing his karts at his facility in Spain,” Coulthard said.

“So the uninterrupted being in the mode of being a racing driver, and all of the things that that keeps sharp in your mind. There’s the expression, ‘Don’t let the old man in’.

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“If you let the old man or the old woman in that, ultimately, is what you end up becoming. But, if you fight against that and you keep a young spirit for as long as nature will allow…

“I think, in comparison to Michael, who stopped and no longer was racing, then went and played in motorbikes and then had a crash and broke a vertebra, and then came back to Formula 1 three years after he’d originally stopped – he could still do go through the motions. He was still an incredible individual, but he just wasn’t as good as he had been before he was in his 40s and the clock had moved.

“So I think it was that uninterrupted nature of Fernando’s time away from F1, as we saw with Kimi Raikkonen [who sat out 2010 and ’11] as well – he went away rallying.”