Tens of thousands flock to F1 season finale

Arnold Nichols
November 26, 2018

Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest in the second practice, followed by Hamilton.

"I am so happy right now", he said, before praising Vettel.

For the first time ever in Formula One history, every driver who competed in the season managed to score a point.

The prospect of five-time champion Hamilton and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas battling for victory against the Ferrari and Red Bull teams at a track where Mercedes have been unbeaten in the modern turbo-hybrid era is tantalising.

But McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes the team "will have a hard time keeping him away", and added that he would be open to letting Alonso drive next year's F1 vehicle.

Despite the data gathered in testing a year ago and the five weekends it has appeared in, Isola does not know what to make of the tyre's longevity and performance in race conditions, providing another strategic element in Saturday qualifying.

The Englishman, who is one of the most successful drivers in the history of Formula 1, can be heard pleading with Smith as he attempts to "escape".

"Will I miss him?"

Along with Alonso, both were given pre-race goodbyes.

"Fernando is a true legend".

He was last on the timesheets, more than four seconds slower than Verstappen.

"It's been a real honour and a privilege racing against Sebastian".

The Mercedes team chief, who has overseen Lewis Hamilton's memorable fifth title triumph and the Silver Arrows' fifth consecutive constructors' championship, said he felt humbled by the celebrations last week, but also determined to continue setting the pace.

The 39-year-old, joining Sauber next season, still ended third overall in the championship, two points ahead of Verstappen.

A point appeared possible in the closing stages but the Spaniard was unable to close the gap on 10th-placed Kevin Magnussen.

"Get me out of here, there is fire, there is fire".

He and Verstappen banged wheels as they fought for position, forcing Bottas to make another pitstop for a suspected slow puncture.

He's won two of course with Renault, but none with McLaren or Ferrari.

Hulkenberg's Renault flipped on lap one and was sent tumbling into the barriers and eventually settled upside down after colliding with French driver Romain Grosjean. "There's fire", the shaken German shouted over the radio. However, after stepping out of his auto having qualified 15th on the grid for Sunday's race, Alonso suggested he could return to F1 after just a single year away.

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