Formula 1 | Alonso regrets title final in Abu Dhabi

Fernando Alonso heads to Abu Dhabi after finishing a difficult Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in thirteenth position.

The Spaniard is now focused on the final, where he will look to end his return season on a high note to help Alpine finish fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.

What do you remember from the first Grand Prix held in Jeddah last weekend?

It was probably a very exciting race for the fans to follow, but it was very stressful behind the wheel! The race was full of incidents and there was an element of luck in the end result. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful this time around. We stopped when the safety car came in for the first time and maybe we would have picked up in fifth or sixth if everything had gone well for us. The red flag practically ended our hopes by making it extremely difficult to return to the points despite a very encouraging start. Esteban managed to put in some valuable championship points and he was very close to a new podium for the team, so there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend.

The Abu Dhabi circuit has been modified. What do you expect from the new route?

I think it has been clear for a while that overtaking is quite difficult on this track and I hope these changes will make a difference. It’s a shame that a decisive race for the title is known for the difficulty of overtaking it. It is however a pleasant circuit and, while there can be more overtaking, that will naturally make it more exciting for the drivers as well as for the spectators. We love to run in Abu Dhabi and I’m curious if that will make a difference. I always want to test new tracks, so we’ll see what happens on Sunday.

You are up for the trophy for most overtaking this season. Is there one that particularly marked you this year?

We had some fun battles on the track, especially with Sebastian (Vettel) and Kimi (Räikkönen) who are also up for this trophy. We could even do our own mini-race on Sunday to see who overtakes the most! Looking back, the overtaking on Pierre Gasly in Qatar was perhaps the best as it allowed us to be well placed for the podium and I was determined to get off to a good start. Then, the one on Carlos (Sainz) in Zandvoort was also very pleasant. I was totally committed to this maneuver knowing how difficult overtaking is on this circuit. It was towards the end of the race, so I approached it a bit in ‘all or nothing’ mode. The Sprint at Silverstone also saw some great duels and Portimão was nice as the car got stronger and stronger during the race so we had a blast. The ability to overtake is a big part of the spectacle of Formula 1 and I hope that a positive trend will be created next year with the cars resulting from the new regulations.

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