As he looks back on a weekend that had promised so much but ultimately culminated only in crushing disappointment, Ferrari star Fernando Alonso has reflected that although 'it hurts to come so close to the goal and see it slip away like that', the 'bitter' end result does not 'erase all the positives' of what he describes as 'a top year'.
F1 2010 has not always been the happiest of campaigns for Alonso, and at one stage – in the wake of a calamitous British Grand Prix at Silverstone in mid-July – the Spaniard looked to be out-for-the-count in terms of doing battle for a third career crown at the highest level, languishing as he did some 47 points adrift of the world championship lead.
His unity with Ferrari, however, never once wavered, and the 29-year-old entered the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finale around the Yas Marina Street Circuit last weekend needing only to finish second or better no matter what his adversaries did in order to lift the laurels. It didn't work out that way, of course, down to a combination of a badly-misguided strategy on the Scuderia's
behalf and Alonso's own inability to get past Renault's feisty Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov.
Still, that same unity that bonded Alonso and Ferrari back in the summer has similarly seen the 26-time grand prix-winner spring to the Prancing Horse's defence when many were quick to blame the team for costing its driver the title – insisting that the frustrations of Abu Dhabi do not cast a pall over what he admits has been a 'wonderful' season.
“Waking up was hard after [Sunday's] disappointment, I can't deny it,” the double F1 World Champion wrote in his blog on Ferrari's official website. “It hurts to come so close to the goal and see it slip away like that, but that's the way sport goes and we have to accept it.
“The closing chapter of the season must not erase all the positive things that we've done this year, and – I repeat – for me it's been a top year. There have been wonderful moments, such as the Monza podium, that will stay in my memory and the bitter end will never be able to cancel them out.
“Now it's pointless to try and work out who got things wrong – a world championship that slips away by four points after 19 races can be lost on so many occasions, not just at the end. We are a team – we win and we lose all together. I'm happy to be at Ferrari, to feel, together with all the men and women who work here, the pride of being a part of this family and this extraordinary history. We are a great group and we will show that – especially in this hardest of moments where this bitter taste will be felt inside every one of us.
“I know that at Maranello everyone will be working hard on the new car to try to be even more competitive at the start of next year. This is the spirit of our people – they want to react straightaway, to work even harder to chase victory. That has made me fall in love with Ferrari even more now than ever.”