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Fernando Alonso

Alonso questions Hulkenberg penalty after sprint clash

Nico Hulkenberg was issued a 10-second time penalty and two penalty points on his super licence after a sprint race incident with Fernando Alonso.

Hulkenberg Alonso Austria
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Fernando Alonso has taken issue with the penalty that Nico Hulkenberg was issued after the sprint race in Austria.

Hulkenberg was deemed to be at fault for forcing Alonso off the track after a late-race overtake attempt.

Hulkenberg locked up his front tyres and ran deep into Turn 3, with the stewards deeming the mistake prevented Alonso from turning into the corner.

As a result, Hulkenberg was handed a 10-second time penalty as well as two penalty points on his super licence.

“It was too optimistic for sure but I disagree with the penalty points again, because if we are not allowed to race or to attempt an overtake… you can succeed or you can make a mistake,” Alonso told media including RacingNews365.

“Maybe you pay the price or you have to give back the position, if it's the last lap of the race, there is a time penalty or whatever.

“I don't think that it was a dangerous manoeuvre. He was just attempting an overtake - too optimistic, OK, but the penalty points, I still don’t get.”

Hulkenberg 'baffled' by sprint penalty

Hulkenberg dropped from P14 to P19 in the final classification before qualifying in ninth place for the grand prix.

Having picked up his first penalty points of the last 12 months through the incident, Hulkenberg admitted he too was startled by the stewards' decision. 

“I was super surprised when I heard that and I was a bit baffled,” he said. “I went to see the stewards to ask for their reasoning and opinion about it. 

“They feel obviously, it's justified in their opinion, I have a different view and opinion.

“When everything is on the limit, and you have to make a move, you have to take certain risks and go a bit out of the comfort zone.

“I locked up, I didn't run him wide on purpose. But I was locking both front axles and that's what happens at the end of the tyre life when everything is really on the edge.

“In 2019 there was a very similar scenario with Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc] in the last lap for the win, and there was no consequence.”

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