Sainz amazed by early critics as Alonso says: 'At the end of 2021, we talk'

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Fernando Alonso says his Formula 1 return should only be judged at the end of the year.

Three races into the 2021 season, and the double world champion has only finished ahead of Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon once both in qualifying and on race day.

And speaking in Portimao last week, he was clear his confidence hasn't been impacted as he continues to fully re-adapt to F1.

"I'm still thinking the same – that I am at one point in my life where I feel good, and I feel capable of driving better than ever," he said via

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"But, that doesn't mean that you don't find difficulties while entering a new adventure, or in this [case a] comeback.

"I had one weekend where I was not totally comfortable – in Imola, and the problem is that in Formula 1 there is a lot of media, a lot of articles, and unfortunately two weeks between races, because if it was back-to-back from Imola to [Portimao], there [would have been] much less talk!"

It was then Alonso stated he would analyse whether his return was the right decision once the 23-race season was over.

"At the end of the year, we talk," he declared. "If I underperform the whole season, and everything was more difficult than expected, ok, maybe there is a point to really discuss and go deep into the questions of why it is more difficult than the previously or something.

"But, in Bahrain, I was happy and probably overperforming, in Imola, underperforming."

In both Imola and Portimao, Alonso only finished a second behind Ocon on track, and in Portugal, the 39-year-old made an impressive charge from 13th on the grid.

That led Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz to call out the fickle nature of F1 observers.

“I am amazed at how quickly people draw conclusions,” said Sainz during a sponsor event this week.

"They do not realise the level of driver and cars and the competitiveness there is today in F1, that it is difficult to adapt quickly when you have drivers with so much experience

“After two years without competing at that level there will always be races or qualifications to suffer, but it was seen that Fernando passed them quickly and on Sunday he did a great race without magic tricks, with work, and suddenly all these criticisms become admiration, which is how our sport is.

“One day they criticise you and then you are great, so every time I believe less criticism and assessments, which are based on the day-to-day.”