Alonso says F1 title trophy could've been "split in two"

Former world champion Fernando Alonso believes Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton deserved the F1 championship trophy to be "split in two" after such a dramatic season.

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Hamilton lost out in the Abu Dhabi finale after a late safety car cost him his his advantage over Verstappen, and allowed the Dutchman to take fresh tyres and then jump ahead on the last-lap dash to the flag after the green flag flew.

It was Verstappen's 10th win of the season and it secured him his first title, denying Hamilton a record-breaking eighth crown.

Alonso has experience of last-round showdowns, with the Spaniard having won at the final race in 2006, but lost out in 2007, 2010 and 2012.

"Fantastic," Alonso said of Verstappen's first title success. "He's a champion, it was a matter of time that he would win the trophy.

"I think today he was lucky. Without the safety car Lewis was world champion, and with the safety car Max is world champion. So it is a pure luck thing, what happened today.

"It is going to be a big topic I guess, but if you take the 22 races, as I said on Thursday any of the two could be a world champion.

"I think more than any other year if you could split the trophy in two, this was the year to do it. Because both of them were outstanding."

The Safety Car and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

The Safety Car and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Alonso also admitted that he felt sorry for Hamilton losing the championship "because of the safety car in the last moment".

"Lewis was driving at another level, especially in the second part of the championship," he said. "The Mercedes was the faster car, yes, but Valtteri [Bottas] was not second, it was Lewis putting out that performance.

"When you lose the championship because of the safety car in the last moment, for sure you feel a little bit sorry.

"As I said on Thursday, I had a little bit more, 51-49 [percent] for Max, and I was clear from the beginning, because I thought that over the season there were a couple more unlucky moments for Max than Lewis.

"The new is sometimes more attractive than the old in terms of a new champion, it's good when you see the grandstands.

"If Max wins one day four or five championships, then a new guy will come, and he will be like the big attraction. I think that's what I feel now."

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Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel, who won the title at the final round in 2010 and 2012, also had sympathy for Hamilton.

"I'm happy for Max, but I'm mostly sorry for Lewis," he said. "I think he had an incredible end to the season. And to be honest, in my point of view, I don't care who wins, but I think they both deserve it. In the end only one can take it.

"So yeah, it was an intense fight, good for the sport. And you know, it's always obviously if you're the lucky one, it's great. If you're not, it's not great."

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