Alonso reveals puncture scare

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Fernando Alonso’s victory in the Spanish Grand Prix was put in jeopardy by a late problem with one of his tires.

Alonso only revealed the problem after winning the race. It occurred during his fourth stint when he was running on medium tires and forced the team to change their strategy plan.

“We had to bring forward the final stop because of a slow puncture which meant the left rear tire was losing pressure in the final part of the lap,” said Alonso. “But fortunately, that had no effect on the final outcome.”

The Ferrari driver was under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen at the time but still finished over nine seconds clear of the Lotus. He said the tire failure was the only problem in an otherwise perfect race: “After a far from easy qualifying, everything went perfectly, the start, the strategy, pit stops, tire management.”

Alonso was one of several drivers to experience tire problems during the race weekend. Jean-Eric Vergne suffered a puncture during the race, though it occurred after contact with Nico Hulkenberg in the pits.

Like Alonso, Paul di Resta also had a left rear tire fail during practice, which has led Pirelli to consider revising the structure of their tires.

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.”