Alonso gracious in championship defeat

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Fernando Alonso has congratulated newly-crowned Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel on winning his fourth consecutive title as the Spaniard endured a disastrous race in India today.

Alonso started in eighth on the medium compound tire, but contact with Mark Webber at the beginning of the race forced him to pit early thus compromising his strategy. Further to that, a bit of damage on the front of the car saw him struggle for pace and eventually finish the race in eleventh place.

The Spaniard took to Twitter, saying: “Congratulations to Sebastian for the championship! We will improve for next year! Now, max fight for second place and prepare for 2014!!

“Difficult race from the first lap! The good thing: in 5 days we sit in the car again in Abu Dhabi and the action is back!!”

Ferrari’s day was not a total disaster though as Felipe Massa performed admirably to lead the race after Vettel’s early stop, and the Brazilian driver eventually came home in fourth place. This result also sees Ferrari equal McLaren’s record of sixty-four consecutive point-scoring races, although the team has now dropped to third in the constructors’ championship behind Mercedes.

Alonso will now be turning his attention to securing second place in both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship. He currently leads Kimi Raikkonen by twenty-four points heading to next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but the Spaniard will undoubtedly be disappointed to have missed out on the world championship once again.

Leclerc: No. 16 was third-choice for Formula 1 career

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2018 Formula 1 rookie Charles Leclerc has revealed No. 16 was his third-choice number to use through his grand prix career, with his preferred options having already been taken.

From 2014, drivers were given the chance to pick a number to use through their F1 careers instead of being assigned one depending on their team’s championship position.

Formula 2 champion and Ferrari junior Leclerc was announced in an Alfa Romeo Sauber race seat for 2018 earlier this month, picking No. 16 as his permanent number.

However, the Monegasque racer revealed last week that it was in fact his third choice, with both No. 7 and No. 10 already being taken by Kimi Raikkonen and Pierre Gasly respectively.

“It’s quite simple to be honest: I wanted number 7 first, but Kimi had it,” Leclerc said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“Then I chose 10, but Pierre came to F1 and chose number 10, so then I chose number 16.

“It’s just my date of birth and I could not find anything better. And 1 + 6 = 7, which is my favorite number.”

Leclerc will become the first driver hailing from Monaco to race in F1 since Olivier Beretta, who made nine grand prix starts in 1994 for Larrousse.