Fernando Alonso vows to ‘take care’ of Sebastian Vettel in F1 farewell

Sebastian Vettel to retire from F1 at end of season

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Fernando Alonso has vowed to “take care” of Sebastian Vettel in his final Grand Prix on Sunday. The Spaniard said all the drivers will “have an eye on him” to ensure he reaches the chequered flag for the last time.

Alonso stressed he would give the German a wide berth at the start to ensure the pair don’t make contact. The Alpine star, who will replace Vettel at Aston Martin next season, explained: “It’s not that we try to help him, but we will all try to have an eye on him when we see him on the mirror, or when he’s coming on the fast lap or whatever, because we want a smooth weekend for him.

“Even tomorrow I think he starts ninth, I start 10th so I will take care of him at the start and the first lap. Let’s hope we both see the chequered flag.”

Vettel enjoyed an excellent final qualifying session as he managed to get into Q3 for the fifth time this season. The German looked on course to secure P7 in the dying moments of the session but eventually dropped down to ninth.

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Vettel has admitted he will be emotional ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix but warned he was still focused on the job. The British team lies just five points behind Alfa Romeo in the battle for sixth in the Constructors’ Championship which was their target coming into the weekend.

Vettel added: “I think it was coming alive. I felt really comfortable at the end of Q1 and then Q2, so I would have to have another set in Q3 but all in all I think it was a good session for us and we could qualify the car in a decent spot. I’m still in the zone now, but it was a bit emotional before qualy, but I’m sure it will be a big day tomorrow.

“We have a task on our hands as well, we try to beat the Alfas and score as many points as possible to maybe get sixth in the constructors’ championship.”

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Vettel announced his retirement from the sport after 15 years over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Drivers paid their tributes to the four-time champion ahead of the final race of the season with all 20 drivers meeting for a special dinner on Thursday.

Lewis Hamilton even suggested he expects Vettel to return to the top tier of motorsport in the near future. He explained: “We always had such great battles, honestly, and I was just thinking, most drivers are coming back.

“He’s come back [Alonso], you’re probably going to come back. We’re seeing other drivers coming back, so I’m sitting here accepting, yes, it’s your last race… but… He’ll be back.”

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