Sebastian Vettel loses out after car failure (VIDEO)

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Sebastian Vettel looked to be on the cusp of his second victory at Silverstone with eleven laps left in the race, enjoying a sustained 3 second lead over Nico Rosberg in P2, but his luck ran out as a loss of drive forced him to pull over and retire from the race.

Vettel had taken the lead early on after Lewis Hamilton suffered a spectacular tire failure, allowing the Red Bull to pull ahead and keep a steady gap to Rosberg. However on lap 41, Vettel lost fifth gear and suffered a loss of drive, forcing him to pull over and retire from the race on the main straight to the delight of the British fans.

This marks Vettel’s first race without points and first DNF since the 2012 Italian Grand Prix, where he suffered an alternator failure along Monza’s pit straight, bringing to an end a superb run of results for the defending world champion.

The other impact of this DNF is that the championship tightens up once again. Vettel did look set to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship beyond the 40-point barrier had he won the race, but instead, Fernando Alonso cuts his lead to a reduced (yet still sizeable) 21 points.

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Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.