F1 fans blown away by Fernando Alonso’s promise to Sebastian Vettel
Fernando Alonso vowed to "take care" of Sebastian Vettel during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – the German's final race in Formula 1.
Vettel will bow out of the sport as a four-time world champion, and there were emotional scenes on the grid before the race at the Yas Marina circuit. He went over to fist bump and greet every other driver as they all wished the extremely popular four-time world champion well for the future.
And for the race itself, Alonso suggested he and everyone else on the track will take extra care not to ruin Vettel's final F1 farewell. "Yeah, I was very happy," said the Spaniard when asked for his response to the 35-year-old's impressive performance in his final qualifying session.
"I think – it's not that we tried to help him, but we all tried to have an eye on him when we saw him in the mirror, when he's coming on a fast lap or whatever, because we all want a smooth weekend for him.
"Even [in the race], I think he will start ninth and I will start tenth, so I will take care of him at the start and the first lap. Let's hope we both see the chequered flag." Alonso will leave his current team Alpine to take Vettel's place at Aston Martin next season.
Fans, already emotional ahead of saying a final goodbye to Vettel as a racer, loved that pledge from the Spaniard. "That's really touching – he's giving Seb the highest level of respect he could give to a competitor," wrote one.
Another was pleased to see "Alonso showing his soft side". And a third pointed out that it is the ideal way for them to end "many years of competition and rivalry", crediting Alonso with providing some of the "competitiveness" needed to spur Vettel on to success at the height of his career.
A few other more sceptical fans, meanwhile, pointed out that Alonso may be looking after his own interests a little. One pointed out: "Aston [Martin] gains millions if they beat Alfa Romeo in the standings."
Prior to this weekend's on-track action, every driver on the current grid met up in an Abu Dhabi restaurant to celebrate Vettel's career. It was organised at the suggestion of Lewis Hamilton, while it is also believed that the Mercedes star picked up the bill at the end of the evening.