Alonso isn't 40 - he's 18 with 22 years of experience!

©WRI

Fernando Alonso hits the big '40' today, a milestone that elevates the Alpine driver to the status of bona fide 'veteran' only surpassed in age on the grid by his friend Kimi Raikonnen.

The Spaniard might well become F1's senior citizen next year if Kimi decides to call it a day on his career in F1

But after 322 Grand Prix starts, 32 wins and two world championships - both achieved with Renault, in 2005 and 2006 - the forever-young Alonso continues to power on and to give it "200 per cent" every other Sunday.

Alonso started his career in Formula 1 with Minardi back in 2001, running the year before in F3000. The then 19-year-old - driving for Team Astromega - didn't win the championship that season, but he did score a victory at the last round at Spa, where he is seen brandishing the winner's gleaming trophy in the picture above.

And by the way, Nando won his very first Grand Prix - with Renault - at the Hungaroring in 2003 where he'll be racing this weekend. A full circle of sorts.