Fernando Alonso has already made his place in history as a worthy champion, the prime reason being the fact that he holds the distinction of ending Michael Schumacher's reign as the undisputed ruler of Formula 1. And if once was not enough, Alonso repeated the feat by winning the championship for a second consecutive year in 2006 proving to all naysayers that he could challenge and win, and not just when his rival was in an uncompetitive car as was the case in 2005.
From humble beginnings driving for Minardi in 2001 to being enlisted to test drive for Renault in 2002, Alonso's rise through the F1 ranks has been - much like his driving - quick. It hasn't all been rosy for the Spaniard though. He struggled in 2007 unable to deal with the alleged preferential treatment meted out to his then teammate at McLaren, the rookie Lewis Hamilton. For 2008 and 2009, Alonso was once again in Renault, but piloting a car that was far from competitive. His podiums during this somewhat murky period can be attributed to one thing alone - his sheer skill as a driver.
For 2010, Alonso found himself welcomed into the arms of the very Scuderia that he famously beat, and in all probability, it is he who is the favoured number one at Ferrari. After starting the season with a one-two finish, he had his share of difficulties right up to his controversial win in Germany. But he turned the tables around to be the leading driver up to the last race. A poor race strategy in the season-finale meant Sebastian Vettel edged him out for his third title.
2011 was much worse for Alonso with only win to his name but he was back to a driving style that got the most out of a poor car, in what is a promising outlook for the future.