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Fernando Alonso

Alonso disputes costly Russell crash penalty

Fernando Alonso dropped from sixth place to eighth after being issued a 20-second time penalty for a late-race incident at the Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso Australia
To news overview © EDGE Photographics

Fernando Alonso has denied his defensive driving against George Russell was “dangerous” following his penalty at the Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso was holding sixth place ahead of Russell as the race around the Albert Park Circuit entered its final stages.

Russell lost control of his car into Turn 6 as he closed up on Alonso in the braking zone, resulting in a terminal crash with the barrier.

Alonso was accused of brake-testing Russell after it was noted that the Mercedes car rapidly closed in on the two-time World Champion as they approached the corner.

The Stewards deemed Alonso was guilty of driving in a potentially dangerous manner, though dismissed any blame for Russell's crash, and issued a 20-second time penalty to drop him from sixth to eighth in the final classification.

“In the closing laps, George caught me quickly,” Alonso reflected.

“I knew that he was coming, then he was in DRS range for five or six laps, so I was just doing qualifying laps to stay ahead.”

'It's what any driver would do'

Alonso detailed that he took an altered approach into the turn in a bid to maximise his corner exit speed and defend along the following straight.

“I wanted to maximise my exit speed from Turn 6 to defend against him.

“That’s what any racing driver would do, and I didn’t feel it was dangerous. It’s disappointing to get a penalty from the stewards for what was hard but fair racing.

“Still, I’m glad that George is okay. It was not nice to see his car in the middle of the track.”

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