Alonso celebrates his 40th birthday at the same venue where he won his first grand prix in 2003 while driving for Renault.

After a slow start to life with Alpine after two seasons away from the sport, Alonso has been back to his best in recent rounds, scoring points in the last five consecutive races.

Reflecting on turning 40 in Budapest, Alonso says it’s a “bigger number” than what he feels.

“I feel good, I feel not 40 for sure. It’s the number that is surprising me as well when I see it or when I see it everywhere in the motorhome because the team prepared a very nice decoration in my room and in the lunch area as well.

“It’s a bigger number than what I feel but it’s the way it is.”

Alonso admitted that he never once imagined racing in F1 when he was 40 back in his earlier years.

“No, probably not because you live only in the present, you’re not thinking too much about the future at that age,” Alonso explained. “You’re just focusing on the race weekend and you hardly imagine yourself more than two or three years in time from that moment. I don’t know.

“Now it’s a different thing. I am more used to the sport, to Formula 1 and all the things that are quite unique here when I came into the sport I was from a very small town in the north of Spain with no experience, no background, no nothing and then you arrive into this world and you’re shocked for five, six, seven years until you’re used to do everything.

“Now it’s a little bit different, you know how things are and you’re enjoying a little bit more yourself.”

Looking ahead to this weekend in Budapest, Alonso expects another top ten finish to be difficult.

“I had always a feeling or a smell of how the weekend could be in the previous races but this weekend I am a little bit confused about the results of Renault last year here and some of our other main competitor’s performance at this track,” Alonso added. 

“I think Ferrari for example will be very strong again this weekend so that midfield looks a little bit more competitive this weekend. We have to execute a perfect weekend here in Budapest if we want to score points. I think it’s going to be harder than the last five races.”