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Alfa Romeo relief after Hamilton retirement and Ricciardo "fun"
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Alfa Romeo relief after Hamilton retirement and Ricciardo "fun"

Alfa Romeo relief after Hamilton retirement and Ricciardo "fun"

F1 News

Alfa Romeo relief after Hamilton retirement and Ricciardo "fun"

Alfa Romeo relief after Hamilton retirement and Ricciardo "fun"

Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur has expressed relief after being left on the edge of his seat by Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Battling Aston Martin for sixth place in the constructors' standings, and with a five-point cushion going into the final race of the year, Vasseur and Alfa were feeling comfortable with the situation with four laps remaining.

At the time, Aston was only on target to collect two points, with Lance Stroll sitting in ninth position.

But then on lap 55 of 58, Hamilton sustained a hydraulics issue with his Mercedes that forced him into a mechanical retirement for the first time since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix.

That then promoted Stroll into eighth and the retiring Sebastian Vettel into 10th, and with it a five-point haul to draw Aston Martin level on points with Alfa Romeo.

READ MORE...Why Mercedes pain stings less than Hamilton-Verstappen controversy - Wolff

With Vettel battling McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo for ninth, it made for an anxious end to a season for Vasseur, only for the Australian to edge the four-time champion by just over half a second by the chequered flag. "I was very relaxed but then when Lewis retired I thought 'Okay, we have no margin anymore'," said Vasseur, speaking to GPFans.

"It was then the biggest fun with Danny, the last couple of laps.

"It was more than tight because in the end, it was one point, one position on the last lap.

"For the team, they deserve it and I'm more than pleased."

Alfa's "best way to start the winter"

The season has been a revelation for Alfa Romeo after finishing a miserable ninth in the standings a year ago.

Under the new aerodynamic regulations, the team - and Valtteri Bottas especially - delivered a superb first nine races of the campaign during which it scored 51 of its eventual total of 55 points before the money ran out and the development stopped.

"It's a great feeling for the team," added Vasseur. "It was not our best race but we had too much focus on Aston to manage the situation, and to be on track where we had to be.

"But at the end of the day, it's paid off, and we are more than pleased to be P6. It's a great achievement for the team coming from P9 last year and from Barcelona [pre-season testing] where we struggled a lot.

"It was a very good team reaction and I'm more than pleased for everybody, not only the race team but all the guys at the factory. It's a great feeling and the best way to start the winter."

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