Vettel struggles to finish sixth in Bahrain (VIDEO)

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Sebastian Vettel has spoken about his struggles during a difficult Bahrain Grand Prix that saw him finish in sixth place, and lose more ground to the Mercedes drivers in the championship race.

The German driver missed out on Q3 yesterday and started down in tenth place, but a poor start and lack of pace meant that he was never really in the hunt for big points. In fact, sixth was a somewhat fortuitous result for the four-time world champion after a safety car period scuppered Williams’ hopes of a double top-five finish.

“I think it was a busy race today, especially at the end after the safety car, but it’s a shame we couldn’t get further up,” he explained. “Daniel proved that there was a little bit more to get from the car today, I couldn’t really get to that bit, so I’m not so happy with my day.”

Vettel faced the ignominy of being told to allow teammate Daniel Ricciardo past, sparking wry smiles and jokes of “Multi 31”, before being passed on track once again by the Australian driver in the dying stages of the race.

“For some reason we seemed to be really slow on the straights, and not just against the Mercedes,” he said. “Merc has a stronger package, so there’s work ahead of us. It was straight forward with Daniel today, we worked well together as a team and we raced well, but surely I would like to have finished higher up.”

The German driver now trails championship leader Nico Rosberg by 38 points, and will be hoping that the team can rediscover its title-winning form sooner rather than later.

Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”