Fernando Alonso has urged his fans to cease their bombardment of Vitaly Petrov following their controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and enjoy what he still refers to as his best ever season in the top flight.
The Spaniard went in to the final race of the year holding a comfortable eight-point advantage over closest rival Mark Webber, with Sebastian Vettel 15 points adrift in third, but left Yas Marina having seen the German overhaul him in the standings after a bad tactical call from Ferrari denied him the fourth place minimum he needed to claim a third world title.
The gaffe, prompted by Webber's decision to pit for fresh tyres early in the race, allowed Vettel an untroubled passage to victory when Alonso found himself bottled up behind Renault rookie Petrov. The Russian, who had shown flashes of potential throughout his debut season, still needed a strong result to go some way to securing his future for 2011, and continued to race Alonso to the chequered flag - as he was rightfully entitled to do. The Spaniard's eventual seventh place was therefore insufficient to realise his championship ambitions, and he showed his own frustration on the slowing down lap, drawing alongside his rival and gesticulating his displeasure at being denied.
While Alonso eventually got over his disappointment, it appears that his fans - who have previously been implicated in racial abuse against former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton - have taken a more long-term view to haranguing the hapless Petrov, having peppered his Facebook
page with abuse and insults [see story here
Alonso has attempted to quell the situation by calling for an end to the vilification during an interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero
"My fans probably didn't like some of his statements after Abu Dhabi," he acknowledged, referring to Petrov's accusations of 'bad manners' and 'poor education' following the race, "We all have to think about what we say after a race, but I say to my fans to stay calm because we have lived together a spectacular year. This makes me happy, given the results I have had. My level of driving I think is at its best and I hope to continue like this next year."