Alonso’s gamble ends in retirement

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Fernando Alonso’s Malaysian Grand Prix ended after just one lap as a gamble from the Spaniard failed to pay off.

Off the start, Alonso tucked in behind Sebastian Vettel despite facing pressure from his teammate Felipe Massa, and the second Red Bull of Mark Webber. Slight contact was made, causing damage to a portion of Alonso’s front wing. He was however able to continue, and he remained in P2 as the drivers completed their first lap.

However, the Ferrari came under pressure from Webber heading into the first corner, and Alonso’s front wing went under his F138. This caused the car to lose control, spearing off into the gravel where Alonso’s rear wheels became beached, ending his race.

Towards the end of the first lap, many expected Alonso to pit for fresh tires and a new front wing, but he decided to continue, most probably until the track dried out allowing for slick tires. This would have saved Alonso an extra pit stop, but in hindsight, the option to pit was definitely the right one.

Unsurprisingly, Alonso returned to the pit lane with his helmet still on, refusing to talk to the media until later in the day.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.