ABU DHABI – Fernando Alonso’s time with Ferrari came to an end in Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening as the Spaniard finished a lowly ninth at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Alonso endured a difficult race, finishing two seconds behind Sebastian Vettel despite the German driver starting the race from the pit lane after being excluded from qualifying. However, he did manage to beat Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen once again, picking up four points for P9.
On Thursday, it was confirmed that Alonso would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season, making way for four-time world champion Vettel at Maranello. He is expected to join McLaren for 2015.
In his final press session as a Ferrari driver, Alonso was asked to reflect on his time with the Scuderia, scoring the five-year spell at nine out of ten.
“From one to ten, I think those five years, I would put nine,” Alonso said. “I know it seems high, but for me, it’s my opinion. Anyone can have their own opinion. I enjoyed it so much. I grew up as a driver and as a person. I worked with amazing people here, and I raced with heart and at the best level of my career.
“I never imagined to have such a beautiful performance over these five years, fighting for the championship, racing with everything that I have inside, never give up. I am proud of the team and the things we did together.
“We missed the title, but we raced in a very dominant era of Formula 1 with Red Bull and this year with Mercedes. No one can come closer to them. This is what I missed to put a ten over these five years.
“Any driver should drive for Ferrari at least for one year, because it’s a unique experience.”
Alonso issued a number of special Ferrari shirts for the race to the team, celebrating his five-year stint at Maranello. Although they did not win a title, the partnership will be remembered as one of the most unique in F1 history, even if it was not the most successful.