Fernando made a strong impression in his debut season with minnows Minardi. In a car far from capable of scoring points, Fernando was able to dice with cars in the midfield, and on occasion outqualify them. He signed off his fledgling season as an F1 driver with an eye-catching drive at Suzuka, which saw him battle with future team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, who was in a far superior Benetton, and finish ahead of several faster cars in 11th.
Born: Oviedo, Spain
A NEW ENERGYWhatever you do in life, you have to have this competitiveness inside you – you have to have this hunger to be the best.
2001 Japanese Grand Prix
2003 Hungarian Grand Prix
Fernando was slotted into a testing role at the newly rebranded Renault outfit for 2002, before being promoted to race driver the following year. In the second race of the season in Malaysia, Fernando became the then-youngest polesitter in F1 history and duly took his maiden podium finish. He followed that up at the Hungarian Grand Prix to become the youngest F1 winner at the time, lapping reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher's Ferrari in the process.
2005 San Marino Grand Prix
Renault started the final year of the V10 era strong and Fernando delivered on the car's potential throughout the season. The changing of the guard became clear when Fernando battled with Schumacher at the San Marino Grand Prix. Hounded and pressured by the seven-time World Champion, Fernando was able to hold his nerve and clinch a superb victory on his way to his first Formula One title.
2006 Brazilian Grand Prix
Schumacher and Ferrari were back on form in 2006 – the first year of the V8 era – but Renault once more came out of the blocks strong. Fernando finished each of the first nine races in the top two to assert a commanding championship lead. Schumacher and Ferrari threw everything at the Spaniard to reduce the lead to zero with two rounds to go. However, rare Ferrari reliability problems allowed Fernando to strike back and secure his second consecutive title at the season finale in Brazil, making him the sport’s youngest double World Champion.
2010 Bahrain Grand Prix
After a short stint at McLaren – where he nearly won a third successive title – followed by another two-year stint at Renault, Fernando joined Ferrari in 2010. He became part of an exclusive club by winning on his Ferrari debut in Bahrain. McLaren and Red Bull came to the fore as the season progressed, and Fernando's title ambitions looked to be slipping away. Four wins in the second half of the season, however, put him firmly back in contention. Leading the championship heading into the final race, a sub-optimal strategy meant Fernando missed out on the title by four points to Sebastian Vettel.
2012 European Grand Prix
Ferrari's F2012 started the season significantly off the pace. Undeterred, Fernando put in a dazzling performance to win one of his most memorable races in tricky conditions in Malaysia. The pace of the car improved as the year went on, but it was still no match for the Red Bull or McLaren. Regardless, Fernando made the most of his abilities to haul himself into the title hunt: his most notable win coming in Valencia Street Circuit – a circuit with few overtaking opportunities – where he fought his way to victory from 11th on the grid. First-lap collisions dented his points lead in the second half of the campaign, and he ultimately fell short of the title by three points to Vettel in a dramatic finale.
2017 Indianapolis 500
Less competitive seasons with Ferrari and McLaren followed, and Fernando looked to explore opportunities beyond Formula One. Fernando raced an IndyCar for the first time at the 2017 Indianapolis 500. He led for 27 laps – more than eventual winner Takuma Sato – and was voted Rookie of the Year. In 2018, Fernando won the World Endurance Championship with Toyota, taking two Le Mans 24 Hours wins in the process. However, missing out on Indy 500 victory, after two further attempts, meant motorsport's 'Triple Crown' has, so far, eluded the Spaniard.
2021 Qatar Grand Prix
After two years away from Formula One, it was announced early in the 2020 season that Fernando was returning to Renault, with the team being rebranded to Alpine ahead of the 2021 campaign. By the midway point of the season, Fernando was performing at an exceptionally high level, akin to what he showed prior to his retirement in 2018, picking up regular points finishes and helping the team take a surprise win. In Qatar, he took a fine podium finish with a typically feisty drive.
2022 Abu Dhabi testing
Sharing the same values, aims and ambitions as Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team, a partnership seemed natural – and in 2022 Fernando signed a multi-year deal to race with the team from 2023. He drove an Aston Martin F1 car for the first time at the 2022 Abu Dhabi post-season test, and he now looks to use all his skill, speed and experience to drive AMF1 to the front of the grid.
Lance is one of Formula One's great young talents. At 24 years old, he is already an experienced Formula One racer with multiple podium finishes and a pole position to his name. In 2023, he's ready to help drive AMF1 forward.
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