Fernando Alonso 'thankful' to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for 'improvised' send-off

Fernando Alonso 'thankful' to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for 'improvised' send-off

Fernando Alonso 'thankful' to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for 'improvised' send-off

Fernando Alonso said goodbye to Formula One on Sunday (Nov 25) amid a fanfare of crowd-pleasing donut spins, generous tributes and a handful of post-race penalties from the FIA.

Alonso flew to Bahrain immediately after the F1 2018 finale to swap jobs for the day with three-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, who drove an F1 auto for the first time.

"I wouldn't be surprised, it wouldn't be the first time a driver struggled a little bit at first and then gelled a little bit later on".

Despite two drivers' world crowns won with Renault, in 2005 and 2006, the 37-year-old Spaniard leaves behind a feeling that his was an unfulfilled career in F1 and a legacy that is as much about his personality as his talent.

"Yeah, potentially it is possible", Alonso said. "He was really gaining time every run".

"He took it very seriously". "We wanted to go with a young line-up that we can hold on to for a while".

Less than 24 hours after finishing what could well be his final Grand Prix, Fernando Alonso was already sampling other racing options for his post-F1 existence, taking part in a McLaren-organised auto swap with NASCAR Cup Series racer Jimmie Johnson which saw Alonso get a run in the American's #48 Team Hendrick Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 racer around the Bahrain International Circuit. I'm shier than people think and I want it go by quickly.

"The vehicle was very powerful for the amount of grip available". "Maybe Daytona, maybe other things will come".

Johnson, who had never driven a single-seater on a road course, admitted the "sensation of speed" was "mind-blowing".

"Literally on the first outing, my helmet was trying to leave my head, and I was staring at the microphone in my helmet it was so high!" said Johnson. There was also a party for Alonso in the paddock on Saturday evening.

"I didn't know how close I would get", he said. "I'd look at anything".

"I honestly think I got a way better swap experience than he did".

"He had that same opportunity in my auto to look at that data and go after it".

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