Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have paid a classy tribute to Fernando Alonso as he bowed out of Formula 1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Alonso narrowly missed out on points in his final F1 race and was greeted by race-winner Hamilton and second-place finisher Vettel on the cool-down lap, with the 2018 title rivals forming a ‘guard of honour’ by drawing alongside the McLaren driver.

The three drivers, who have a combined tally of 11 world championship titles between them, then proceeded to complete celebratory donuts on the start/finish straight - an improvised moment Alonso described as a “magic” send-off.

Fernando Alonso - An F1 Career In Pictures

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“He’s a true legend,” Hamilton, who was Alonso's teammate at McLaren in 2007, said.

“It’s been a real honour and a privilege to race in a period of time where he has been racing. Before I even got to Formula 1 I was already watching him and admiring what he had achieved.

“I was asked all weekend ‘will you miss him’ and naturally I don’t really quite feel like I miss another driver ever, but the sport will miss him, we will miss him and I will definitely will miss him being in the sport.”

Vettel, who beat Alonso to the drivers’ crown in 2010 and 2012 during his Red Bull days, added: "I think the last years [at McLaren] have been very tough for him, we've been missing him and we will miss him, so well done on his career.”

Following his F1 exit, Alonso will make a second appearance at the Indy 500 in 2019 as he bids to complete the final stage of his quest to become just the second driver in history to win motorsport’s ‘Triple Crown’.

The Spaniard has not completely ruled out a return to F1 in the future but said he is now completely focused in taking part in new challenges outside of the sport.

 

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