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Alonso: Winning Toyota “Didn’t Deserve” to Beat No. 7

Alonso ‘feels sad’ for No. 7 teammates who he says deserved Le Mans win more than him…

Photo: Toyota

Fernando Alonso says he, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi didn’t deserve to beat the other Toyota Gazoo Racing car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The race was dominated by the sister No. 7 Toyota shared by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez until a series of unscheduled pit stops dropped it out of the lead with an hour on the clock.

This allowed Nakajima to overtake Lopez on track and secure his second consecutive Le Mans win.

“This one is definitely completely unexpected,” Alonso said post-race. “We didn’t have the pace for 24 hours.

“We were not as quick as car No. 7, and definitely we didn’t deserve to win on-track. The luck today was a big factor as it is in motorsport.”

He likened Lopez’s late-race problems, which forced him to make three unscheduled stops due to a misdiagnosed puncture, to Nakajima losing the 2016 race on the last lap.

“I remember watching on television when Kazuki stopped one minutes before the end in 2016,” said Alonso. “What can you do in those cases? They are incredibly hard.

“I’ve experienced unfortunately those moments as well, fighting for the world championship with McLaren in 2007 and Ferrari in 2010 and 2012.

“When you arrive at the last moment and you are unable to finish the job, you feel bad and I feel sad.

“I feel for my teammates because they are not only teammates but friends as well. They deserve it today.”

Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi’s win secured the FIA World Endurance LMP Drivers’ Championship, bringing the Spaniard his third FIA World Championship along with his two Formula 1 titles.

“But the race chose us to win it, and we take it,” he said.

“Our main goal was to be world champions, and I’m extremely proud of that as well. It’s been a long super season.

“Last year was hard because I committed to do F1 plus the full WEC, not just Le Mans, because I wanted to fight for one more world championship, and today is the day that we take it, so it’s a very important day.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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