SAO PAULO: Fernando Alonso failed to win a third Formula One championship on Sunday but the Ferrari driver still rated his season as the best of his career.
The two titles he won with Renault in Brazil in 2005 and 2006 seemed to fill him with less pride than the defeat to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel because he felt he was battling against the odds this time.
Two years ago in Abu Dhabi, he had lost out to Vettel after taking a 15 point lead into the final race. At Interlagos on Sunday, he almost clawed back the 13 he needed to overhaul the German.
“Here is completely the opposite,” he told reporters. “I’m so proud and I’m so happy to fight until the last lap with the package we have in our hands.
“That is the best thing for me, to feel proud of myself. It was by far the best season of my career and I will remember this 2012 like some dream season,” added the 31-year-old.
“Obviously we didn’t achieve the points to win the title but I won so many things this year: So much respect from everybody.”
Alonso won three races in 2012 but finished on the podium 13 times in 20 races despite starting the season with a car that looked way off the pace.
He also failed to finish two races, in Belgium and Japan, through no fault of his own after being dumped out in collisions.