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Alonso brushes off career-move critics: ‘I think I’m doing OK’

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Fernando Alonso has brushed off criticism regarding his team moves through his Formula 1 career, believing he is “doing OK” despite having not won a world title in 11 years.

Alonso took back-to-back F1 drivers’ championships in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, but subsequent stints with McLaren, Renault (again), Ferrari and McLaren (again) have failed to yield a third title.

Alonso enjoyed near-misses in 2007, 2010 and 2012, but now finds himself battling towards the back of the field amid ongoing power unit problems for McLaren’s partner, Honda.

The Spaniard failed to score any points through the opening five races of the season before missing the Monaco Grand Prix so he could enter the 101st Indianapolis 500, where he retired after leading 27 laps following an engine failure.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday in the UK, Alonso stressed that winning a third world title remains his priority, but added that he does not understand criticism regarding perceived wrong team moves through his time in F1 as he has still enjoyed some success.

“My first priority is Formula One and to win my third world championship. My second priority was to enjoy the experience of Indy 500, and I managed to do that,” Alonso said.

“I read that people are sad. They want to see me at the front more, winning more. But when I went to Indy it was a totally different environment and the people still respected me a lot. They expected something to happen on the track.

“I made each move from one team to another because I felt it was right in my heart. And if you go back 17 or 18 years, I was traveling in my dad’s van to go-kart races in Italy.

“I could have been working in a supermarket at home in Oviedo. And now I come to America and the people follow me everywhere.”

“I don’t agree with: ‘What a shame. Alonso should have done this or that’.

“I have won 97 podiums and two titles. I think I’m doing OK.”

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.”