Lewis Hamilton finished this F1 campaign in a convincing style, winning the last Grand Prix of the season held in Abu Dhabi. The British driver became the champion for the fifth time in his career, catching up Juan Manuel Fangio, with only Michael Schumacher in front of him.
But what might overshadow his magnificent accomplishment is Fernando Alonso’s retirement. The charismatic Spaniard, one of the most beloved F1 champions of all times, decided to retire from the Formula 1 after 17 years. At least for a while, as he said.
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 25, 2018
“In 2020 I’m open for different things. Maybe a full season in IndyCar, a full season in Formula One again.” Alonso said, leaving the door for a potential return, opened.
Two-time world champion back in 2005 and 2006 wants to try himself in the World Endurance Championship. Not just to try, but to win the competition. Alonso’s plans are including a triumph at Indy 500, which would make him the second driver ever with the Triple Crown of Motorsport. To earn this unofficial title, one has to win the three most prestigious races in the world, Monaco Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Indianapolis 500.
The only person ever to achieve this was Graham Hill. Fernando Alonso plans to be the next one, as he already has Monaco and Le Mans.
“I think I need a break now in 2019, I need different challenges, I want to fight for the Triple Crown with the Indy 500 and other iconic races, maybe Daytona, maybe other things that will come.”
This Grand Prix will be remembered as the one in which the whole F1 organization expressed their respect and love towards the Spaniard.
At the end of the race, two world champions, who are Alonso’s successors, decided to make a gesture which will stay forever written in every racing schoolbook. Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, two fierce rivals, were joined together in order to show how big is Fernando Alonso.
They were doing “doughnuts” at turn 8, waiting for the McLaren’s driver to arrive. Ferrari and Mercedes then flanked the vehicle and drove alongside with him, before stopping at the finish line to make another set “doughnuts”. Three big champions, saluting to each other, giving all the fans a memorable view.
“It was magic, it was magic,” he said. ” I saw them [Hamilton and Vettel] doing donuts at Turn 8 and then I saw one car on the left and one car on the right and they kept going like this until the finish line. ”
We knew they were coming 🍩
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 25, 2018
Lewis Hamilton was happy because of his title, but also sad, as one of the best drivers in history left the F1 caravan.
It’s been a real honor and a privilege to race in the same era as him,” said Hamilton. “The sport will miss him, we will miss him.”
Event in Abu Dhabi was not that interesting as what followed afterward. Hamilton had control through the entire race. After changing his tires the Brit came back on track at place No.6, but that was just a temporary situation, as he eventually climbed up the ladder, until reaching the top position once again.
Sebastian Vettel came second at Yas Marina circuit 2.581 seconds behind Mercedes, and Max Verstappen earned another podium spot for being third. Alonso was 11th.
Nico Hulkenberg suffered a horrifying crash after colliding with Sebastian Grosjean during the first lap of the race. His Renault was on fire while the driver couldn’t get out of the vehicle. Luckily for him, the race marshals were there just in time to get him out of the car and to put the fire out.
Lewis Hamilton finished the season with 11 wins, and a record-setting 408 points. Vettel finished second with 320 points, and Kimmi Raikkonen third with 249, two more than Valtteri Bottas.
Mercedes won its fifth consecutive Construction’s title collecting 655 points. Ferrari had 571, and Red Bull 419.
We will now wait a couple of months before seeing the start of the 2019 season. As always the show kicks off in Australia. The Melbourne Grand Prix is scheduled for the 17th March.
One very big landmark is going to be set next year, and that is the 1000th World Championship race, which will be held in China, at the Shanghai International Circuit on April the 14th.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.