Best of 2018: Alonso draws curtain on illustrious career

Fernando Alonso 2018 Abu Dhabi Burnout

Fernando Alonso officially finished his Formula One career in Abu Dhabi.

The 37-year-old has had a glittering career in F1®, winning back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, the first of which made him the then youngest ever champion.

Alonso, who completed his 17th season in the sport, has won 32 races, amassed 22 pole positions and reached the podium on 97 occasions.

"After 17 wonderful years in this amazing sport, it's time for me to make a change and move on. I have enjoyed every single minute of those incredible seasons and I cannot thank enough the people who have contributed to make them all so special," he said via a McLaren statement.

"There are still several grands prix to go this season, and I will take part in them with more commitment and passion than ever.

"Let's see what the future brings; new exciting challenges are around the corner. I'm having one of the happiest times ever in my life but I need to go on exploring new adventures."

As a testament to Alonso's tenacity throughout the field, a number of drivers paid tribute following the decision.

Writing in Spanish, Force India driver Sergio Perez tweeted: "What a pleasure to share these years the tracks with you! You're great Fer - all the success in your next stage of life."

Nico Hulkenberg also used Alonso's native tongue, writing: "I wish you all the best for the future!"

Speaking with Sky Sports, former team-mate Lewis Hamilton said "I would say it is a shame that he's not as decorated as his ability,

"But sport is a very interesting machine and it's not just about being a great driver it's also how you manoeuvre, how you play the game. Like a chess game, it's how you position yourself - all these different things that also are a part of the package."

All we know for certain, the 2019 season won't be the same without Alonso in the paddock.

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