McLaren's retiring Formula One (F1) driver Fernando Alonso of Spain has said that he was proud of having made F1 more popular in his home country of Spain as well as winning the Princess of Asturias Award for Sports.
The two-time world champion, who decided to quit F1 after Sunday's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, spoke at a joint press conference with other drivers on Thursday night.
"One of the greatest racing drivers the world has ever seen."
"(I am) definitely very proud. I think you only realize with time when you see how many people follow the sport now in Spain," Alonso said, explaining: "We were not broadcasting the Formula One races in 2001 and 2002. I think it started in the middle of 2003."
Alonso began racing in F1 in 2001 when he was 20-years-old and was crowned in 2005 and 2006.
"The Princess of Asturias Award for Sports is probably the biggest thing that I achieved, even more than any F1 championship, because that kind of award is more about changing people's lives and introducing a lot of people into one sport, so those kinds of things are much bigger than any trophy," he added.