Fernando Alonso delighted by Ferrari’s ‘fantastic race’

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Fernando Alonso is delighted with his win at today’s Chinese Grand Prix after a trouble-free race, crossing the checkered flag first with a 10 second gap to second placed Kimi Raikkonen.

“It was a fantastic race for us from the start to the end without any big problems from the car,” he said after the race. “The tire degradation was better than expected so we managed the pace.”

Whilst Raikkonen became embroiled in a strategic battle with Lewis Hamilton, Alonso was able to focus on his own race, and cut 13 points out of Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead. The result sees Ferrari return to form and close on Red Bull in the constructors’ championship, having endured a troublesome race last time out in Malaysia.

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“It feels great after the retirement in Malaysia,” Alonso said. “We had some pressure to finish the race.”

Alonso posted two fastest laps during his final stint, and although his time was bettered by Vettel late on, the Ferrari driver showed strong pace. His team told him over the radio “you do not have to push”, to which Alonso replied “I am not pushing!” despite his purple lap times.

The two-time world champion was keen on building upon the result, and he has high hopes for the rest of the season.

“In the two races we’ve finished we have got second place and victory so our start of the 2013 season is very good. We are very optimistic for the rest of the season.”

Ferrari trail Red Bull by just five points in the constructors’ championshp, with Felipe Massa finishing today’s race in P6.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”