Fernando Alonso's presence outshined everyone else at the track today, but before we delve into it, here is a quick reminder about who physically outshined his rivals on the tarmac.
Lewis Hamilton ended the day on top, as he sealed his 83rd pole position in F1 earlier today at Yas Marina, annihilating Ferrari and Red Bull for good, owing to a ‘killer’ last sector. Perhaps it will be a different story in the race, as it is going to be tighter amongst the top teams and there are more variables playing their part.
But let us just get into what happened earlier today in the paddock. As we gaze at the Yas Viceroy hotel, we are ready to sail on calm seas: Haas dismissed the protests lodged against Racing Point Force India. Such a complaint got a fair amount of attention from the media, as Haas did not explain the reason why they did it at first. It turned out that it was aimed to making sure everything was equal from a financial, other than a sporting standpoint.
Also, Haas driver Romain Grosjean caused a collision with Pierre Gasly in the closing stages of FP3. The Swiss-born driver slowed down anomalously at Turn 17, causing Gasly to change his trajectory out of the blue and hit him. However, Grosjean headed to the Toro Rosso garage to apologise and later on the investigation had no further action against either of the competitors.
McLaren was in the eye of the storm, as Fernando Alonso’s farewell activities were on a roll. The Spaniard met Flavio Briatore in the paddock earlier today, as the Italian came here to pay him a visit at his final F1 race. Thereafter, he got to speak to the media at the Meet the Team and run to the Yas Marina Circuit event, where the director of the track publicly announced that he decided to keep the drivers’ briefing room as it is. This means that it will become the ‘Fernando Alonso drivers’ briefing room’ to pay homage to his character, being also a fan’s favourite. At the end of the event, Alonso reenacted his deckchair scene, which symbolically bears his trademark since Brazil 2015.
Putting the emotional side for a moment, I personally find the technical aspect of a team worthy of being mentioned. Rumours linking Andreas Seidl to McLaren have intensified throughout the day, after he was previously associated with Mercedes. The role he would eventually be covering is team management-related, but at this stage no one would break the ice to either confirm or deny those voices.
Outside of the F1 paddock, George Russell clinched the F2 title by winning the feature race. The consecration of next year’s rookie-to-be has begun, as all he has to do now is embark on the Williams’ adventure.