Formula 1

Fernando Alonso: “An important but not exciting race”

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Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Fernando Alonso admitted the 2017 Formula 1 season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix “wasn’t that exciting from our position” as the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team partnership ended with a points finish.

Starting in 11th position, Alonso spent much of the race at Yas Marina in close proximity to the retiring Felipe Massa in the Williams Martini Racing car, eventually crossing the line in ninth, one place ahead of Massa to haul a final two points for the McLaren-Honda alliance.

Alonso said: “we had an interesting battle with Massa in front and Carlos Sainz behind. We chose to undercut Felipe and it worked quite well, but after that we were struggling with the pace and running alone for most of the time

“But, we had a solid race, a good start, a good strategy and scored two points, so I’m happy.”

The 2005 and 2006 world champion also reflected on the three years spent on the McLaren-Honda project, which promised so much, but delivered so little.

During the 59 races since Alonso returned to spearhead Honda’s return to F1, McLaren failed to finish on the podium, with the best result being a fifth place finish in the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix, for Alonso.

He said: “This was an important race for us. It was the last one of this project and we wanted to finish it in a good way.

“It has been a tough season and a tough three years for us, but I’m still feeling very proud of this project.

“We didn’t succeed in terms of results and we delivered below expectations, but nevertheless everyone fought and worked very hard.

“Now that we are both going our separate ways, we wish the best for Honda and good luck to the McLaren Renault project also. Now it’s a new chapter for both of us.”

Alonso finished the season in 15th place in the driver standings, scoring 17 points, with a best finish of sixth in the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he also posted the fastest lap of the race.

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Jake Nichol is a motorsport journalist writing about the Formula 1 world championship for The Checkered Flag. He is currently freelancing for Autosport, where his work includes IndyCar, NASCAR and UK-wide national race meetings.
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