The two-time world champion Spaniard will also be leading Ferrari's forlorn fight to finish as runners-up in the constructors' world championship, having secured that position for himself in the drivers' title race with his fifth place finish in Sunday's United States Grand Prix.
     
Like most competitors and observers at the Circuit of the Americas, Alonso, 32, doffed his cap to Sebastian Vettel after the 26-year-old German had registered another record-breaking feat in winning his eighth successive race for champions Red Bull.
     
But behind his dignified show of respect for the supreme team and four-time world champion, he was strugglingphysically and mentally.
     
Regarded by many as the finest racing driver of his generation, Alonso has seen his potential to win for Ferrari reduced almost systematically by the stunning speed and reliability of Vettel and Red Bull.
     
Yet in bringing his Ferrari home to claim second in the championship, Alonso demonstrated again his deep resources of courage and commitment in the most difficult circumstances.
     
Alonso raced with his body taped up to reduce the pain from his back and the headaches that have dogged him since his 25-G impact on the kerbs in Abu Dhabi two weeks earlier.

(Agencies)

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