Fernando Alonso 'thankful' to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for 'improvised' send-off

Fernando Alonso says he's "thankful" to Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for an emotional send-off which saw the trio drive side-by-side to the start/finish straight, before completing a number of doughnuts at the end of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Alonso, who has now retired from the sport – although has hinted it could be a temporary one – was flanked by race winner Hamilton and runner-up Vettel on the cool-down lap for what he revealed was an improvised celebration.

"That in-lap was improvised actually because it was not planned in advance," explained the Spaniard. "I saw them doing doughnuts in Turn 8 so I caught up with the leaders and then one of the cars was on the left and one on the right and they went like that all the way to the start finish line.

"I am very thankful to them for the nice gesture and it was nice to celebrate at the chequered flag."

It was one of several celebrations of Alonso's illustrious career this weekend, which the two-time champion admitted had been a little overwhelming.

"I still need a couple of days to see and digest things," he said. "There have been a lot of things that were prepared for me with the team, Liberty and Formula 1, but I didn’t have any time to myself.

"Every time I was in the room I could see on my telephone that there were hundreds and hundreds of messages, but every time I sat down in the chair, someone knocked on the door and told me to go out to see another new person.

"So I have had no time yesterday evening and this morning, and I need a bit of time to myself and realise the magic weekend that I had."

Alonso came close to scoring what would have been his 1,900th point in F1, but went on to finish P11 as he couldn't close the gap to Haas' Kevin Magnussen in the closing laps, despite cutting the chicane on three occasions – for which he was penalised.