In the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in his bid to catch Kevin Magnussen, and thereby earn the 1,801th career point his engineer craved (1,9000th to be exact), Fernando Alonso straight-lined the chicane on three successive laps, thereby earning himself three successive 5s time penalties. All to no avail.
While the Spaniard clearly thought that all was fair, the stewards were baffled by his antics.
“I think they were surprised it happened three laps in a row,” admitted race director Charlie Whiting in his post-race debrief. “And they just gave him a penalty each time.
“It was the end of the race,” he responded, when asked whether the stewards had considered black-flagging the Spaniard for his continued misdemeanours, “and I don’t think it would have been very nice to give someone like Fernando a black flag in his last race, do you? I don’t think the black flag was ever discussed.”
“It was magic, it was magic,” he said of his final race. “The whole weekend has been amazing and the in-lap was not planned. I saw them doing donuts at Turn 8 and then I saw one car on the left and one car on the right and they kept going like this until the finish line. It was a nice touch by them, so thank you Sebastian and thank you Lewis.
“They are both great champions,” he added, “and I feel very privileged to race with them and it was a great race to be fighting with the Haas drivers [for tenth place] to the very end. I think I need a couple of days to realise the whole weekend, because I have been very busy and I haven’t had five minutes for myself to think about it, but it has been a very good weekend.”
When asked if his departure was finally sinking in, he admitted: “Not yet. I think in a couple of days. The race was a normal race, fighting for the tyre management, the fuel saving, all these things, and fighting for points until the end, until the last lap. I had really no time in the weekend.
“This morning has been the busiest morning ever in a grand prix. I tried to sit down and check my telephone and after 30 seconds someone from the team knocked on the door and I had to say hello to a new person! It has been very, very busy, so I think I need two or three days to check and realize all the things that I lived this weekend. It will always be in my heart.”
Speaking before the race, the Spaniard had hinted that he could return to F1, though a couple of hours later he appeared to suggest the opposite.
“I consider this the last race,” he said, before adding: “Who knows what the future will bring, but for now this is the last. I feel very happy and very privileged with all the success that I had over the years, driving for amazing teams.
“Coming from a very normal family from the north of Spain, a go-kart driver, eventually you find yourself in Formula One and winning championships and 17 years of magic in this sport. So I’m happy for that, very proud, and see you soon.”
Check out our Sunday gallery from Yas Marina, here.