The two-time F1 champion has rolled back the years since joining Aston Martin as a replacement for the retiring Sebastian Vettel, finishing on the podium three times this season already.

But it hasn’t stopped him looking over his shoulder to tease Alpine, the team where he spent the past two years.

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“I think I have always been motivated,” Alonso said after qualifying in P2 in Miami.

“I have always been working hard, but I probably didn’t have the team believing in my performance, in my ability to set up the car as well, and to move forward.

“And also I never had a fast car, as I have now. So I think that’s the reason.

“I didn’t change anything but Aston Martin changed everything for me.”

A subtle reminder to Alpine of what they have lost? Perhaps.

On Friday, Alonso’s teasing of his former employers was even clearer.

“The Alpines are fighting in the free practice,” Alonso exclaimed over team radio.

The reply from his engineer came: “That’s a joke. You were on a flying lap and Esteban Ocon didn’t get out of the way.”

Alonso: “Yeah, copy, but the free practice is their moment so it’s good.”

Alonso has endured ups and downs with many teammates over the years, and last season his relationship with Ocon was tumultuous.

After a season of frequent bickering, both drivers were reprimanded by team principal Ottmar Szafnauer for clashing in the sprint race in Sao Paulo.