Alonso rallies to finish second in Belgium

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Fernando Alonso produced one of his best performances of the season so far to fight through the field and finish second during today’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Spanish driver started the race down in ninth after a wet qualifying session prevented him from challenging for pole position on Saturday. However, he made a fantastic start, passing Paul di Resta, Romain Grosjean, Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber on the first lap to move up into fifth, eventually clawing his way up to third by the time of his first pit stop. The Ferrari driver then caught Lewis Hamilton before pulling away and eventually finishing an easy second to race winner Sebastian Vettel.

“Everything went okay from the start,” Alonso said after the race. “Then the car had the speed to overtake some cars, and it was a little bit boring after we got second place. We were nowhere near Sebastian and not a big threat from behind.”

The next race is Ferrari’s home event: the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, home of the ever-faithful Tifosi that support the team. Alonso explained on the podium that it will be an important weekend where he is hoping to give the Ferrari fans something to smile about.

“It’s an important weekend for us and the team. Last year we were very close to repeating the victory that we also got in 2010, so I am fully motivated again. In Monza, we would like to give some smiles and some satisfaction to the Tifosi.”

Due to Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement on lap twenty after a brake failure, Alonso has re-claimed second place in the drivers’ championship and is Vettel’s closest rival for the title despite trailing the German driver by forty-six points.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”