I never had personal issues with Alonso, says Hamilton

Virginia Santiago
November 26, 2018

Hamilton's victory also left him 18 wins away from Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 91 and he celebrated on the podium by stripping down to his waist and showing off his tattooed torso as the fizz was sprayed.

After the race end, Hamilton was quick to praise the Ferrari driver for having provided a high level of opposition throughout the year, albeit that Vettel finishes his season having scored just five wins - two of which came in the first two races of the year - to Hamilton's 11.

But the concluding race of the 21-round season will be remembered for Hulkenberg's opening-lap crash.

Brown stressed that "there's not a seat open" to Alonso if he expressed a desire to make a racing return to F1 next year, but he said McLaren is still working out the details of its ongoing relationship with the Spaniard. The heart-stopping scene saw Hulkenberg landing upside down in the barriers with smoke coming from the vehicle.

"I'm hanging here like a cow", Hulkenberg said over the radio. "We got through it without damage, so I'm happy". "There is a fire".

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Sam Smith, the British popstar standing with Spice Girl Geri Horner in the Red Bull garage, watched on open-mouthed as Hulkenberg was belted into his vehicle for more than three minutes. I saw them [Hamilton and Vettel] doing donuts at Turn 8 and then I saw one vehicle on the left and one auto on the right and they kept going like this until the finish line.

It was unsafe but delightful - a one-stop strategy for Hamilton, switching under the virtual safety auto to supersofts with 45 laps to go, ultimately proved the winning formula, despite looking very dodgy at points.

Compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, retired seven laps into his final race with Ferrari as his auto cruised to a halt on the pit straight, triggering a virtual safety vehicle and Hamilton's early stop. "Then they can take their time to get the auto righted and let him get out".

Whiting says there was no concern that the Halo may have prevented Hulkenberg from extracting himself unaided, saying the safety team will always want to move the auto from its position before the driver climbs out.

Ferrari's overall runner-up Sebastian Vettel finished second, and also set the fastest lap, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen third in a race that also saw a rare sprinkling of desert rain.

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Ricciardo, in his final race for Red Bull, took the chequered flag in fourth ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso is quitting McLaren - and F1 altogether - following Sunday's race to pursue other racing interests.

Urged by his team to chase the one point up for grabs for 10th, Alonso replied: "I have 1,800 points". "I think it was more how the team was run, or the situation we were put in, and how that was managed".

He was unable to do so, ending his world-championship winning career in 11th.

"He did a fantastic job this whole season". I feel very happy and very privileged with all the success that I had over the years, driving for fantastic teams.

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"Fernando is a true legend".

"I could not get out by myself. Yeah. I think the sport will miss him".

Vettel said: "Lewis is the champion and he deserves it". It was a tough year in general.

Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly, Sauber's Marcus Ericsson and Ocon all retired late in the race.

"I would expect this to be another circuit where tyre management is key to a good result, hopefully it plays into our hands again".

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"It has been a long year".

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