HomeSportMotor RacingAlonso looks for 31st win on 31st birthday

Alonso looks for 31st win on 31st birthday

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BUDAPEST — Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso could celebrate his 31st birthday by winning his 31st Grand Prix on Sunday at the Hungaroring circuit where he chalked up his Formula One victory nine years ago.

McLaren will hope to get the most out of their upgraded car after Lewis Hamilton’s bad luck in Germany and champions Red Bull will want to put a troubled weekend in Hockenheim behind them.

Alonso will go into the August break on top of the standings whatever happens at the ageing, twisty Hungaroring, where temperatures usually soar after the cooler races in Britain and Germany.

Although Alonso’s Ferrari is not the fastest car on the circuit, the Spaniard has amassed 154 points, shooting 34 clear of Red Bull’s Mark Webber (120).

Webber’s teammate and world champion Sebastian Vettel is a further 10 points back in third place followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, who are both in the ’90s.

After two wins and a second place in his last three outings, a fourth win of the season would put Alonso well on course for a third Formula One title to add to the ones he won as a youngster with Renault in 2005 and 2006.

“I don’t want anyone to come to Hungary better prepared than me, physically or mentally or more motivated than me and I always try and win this competition that runs alongside the one on the track,” Alonso said.

“I expect to go well in Budapest and there is no reason to be pessimistic. However, I am not forgetting that Red Bull and McLaren were quicker (at Hockenheim).”

Alonso became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix when he led from pole to win in Budapest in 2003 at the age of 22, a record subsequently taken by Vettel in 2008 aged 21.

“It is a dream come true. I am 22 years old and I have my first victory. I hope I have a long career with lots more victories,” Alonso said at the time.

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