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Alonso: ‘Too easy’ for Hamilton in charge to 2017 F1 title

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McLaren’s Fernando Alonso says he wants to give Lewis Hamilton a “harder time” in Formula 1 next year, saying the Briton had it “too easy” in his charge to a fourth world championship in 2017.

Hamilton clinched his fourth drivers’ crown in Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix by finishing ninth, having enjoyed a late battle with former teammate Alonso as he fought back from an early clash.

Alonso has not been able to battle with Hamilton very often in the last three years amid struggles for McLaren with its Honda power units, but the Spaniard showed few signs of backing down in their fight.

When asked by NBCSN after the race if the late battle with Hamilton was fun, Alonso said: “Not so much when you have different cars with different speed on straights!

“The car felt good balance all weekend and in the race. But we don’t have straight-line speed. Spent behind the Sauber, then [Kevin] Magnussen, then Hamilton. We tried to brake a bit later. It wasn’t possible.

“Starting last, finishing in the points, was fun… let’s see you in Brazil.”

By finishing P10, Alonso recorded his first points finish since the Hungarian Grand Prix at the end of July, having claimed for much of the Mexico weekend that McLaren had the strongest car in the field, only for its power unit to hold it back.

Alonso took heart from his display, and is hopeful of being able to fight with Hamilton on a more regular basis when McLaren switches to Renault power units for 2018.

“I think [Hamilton] knows. He knows how strong the McLaren is in the corners,” Alonso said.

“Next year hopefully we can give a harder time to him. This year was too easy.

“Hopefully McLaren-Renault can give him a battle next year.”

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

FIA F3 Europe
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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.