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Fernando Alonso

F1 drivers react to Alonso penalty furore after 'dangerous' Russell incident

The penultimate lap incident between Fernando Alonso and George Russell at the Australian Grand Prix has sparked considerable debate amongst their rivals

Alonso Russell Australia
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

It is an incident that has sparked considerable debate amongst the F1 drivers going into this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

Predominantly, Fernando Alonso has come under fire from his peers for what was deemed 'potentially dangerous driving' on the penultimate lap of the last race in Australia that left George Russell ploughing into a barrier and his Mercedes on its side in the middle of the race track.

Russell has no doubt the stewards were correct in handing Alonso a post-race drive-through penalty, converted to 20 seconds, otherwise, as he remarked, "a can of worms" would have been opened.

On the traditional media day ahead of the race at Suzuka, almost every other driver was asked for their thoughts on the incident. RacingNews365 brings you the best of their comments.

Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

“When I saw it all I wasn’t very impressed with Fernando's tactics there to be honest,” Hulkenberg told media including RacingNews365.

“Melbourne, after all, it's kind of a street circuit, it's quite narrow there, we approach that corner with 260, 270 clicks [and] a blind exit.

“If, for whatever reason, the flag system or someone is late, and one of us would have T-boned George, the outcome and the way he feels might have also been quite different.

“Whilst that tactic is quite a common one in Formula 1, in that particular corner with that speed, with a blind exit, I think it's the wrong corner to do it and produced quite a dangerous situation.”

Daniel Ricciardo (RB)

"It's a strange one because the consequence was big. George had a massive crash because of his defensive strategy, so from that you're like, 'Okay, that was bad'. I don't know how I feel about it because it's something that's not common.

"Now that he's done it, I can understand kind of why he did it, but it's probably something we don't ever do or practice. Maybe the execution wasn't so good. I think because of the consequences, you understand the penalty."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Lando Norris (McLaren)

"It shouldn't be a penalty. What Fernando did was odd, so extreme. But I don't think it's even close to being regarded as a brake test. Did he break and downshift? I don't know the exact things of it. But should it be a penalty in any way? No. George, in my opinion, should have seen it coming. He had time to see what was going on.

"I'm sure it's always tougher being in that situation, but that kind of thing shouldn't have been a penalty. I think it's clear. He's in front, like Max and Hamilton, a brake test. This was not a brake test.

"This was just trying to play very smart - Fernando being Fernando - and [George] kind of being caught out by it. But it was not aggressive. It was not like, one metre in front of a car stopping. It was like 100 metres ahead, slowing down and the approaching speed caught George off. But no way near should that be a penalty."

Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

"I think we all know what's acceptable, what's within the limits. Knowing the driver, especially like Fernando, he always does these sorts of tricks, let's put it that way, always within the limits.

"I think Fernando is a very aggressive driver, but always within the limits. I've had great fights with him.

"He's one of the drivers I trust the most, but I have to say that he was a bit too much to the limit, or probably over the limit. But like I say, we might see this incident again in two weeks, three weeks and nothing will happen."

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

"My view is that it's something we do as drivers, however, not to that extent. What Fernando did in Australia was a bit much and had to be penalised.

"However, I believe that there's something that we need to look into in terms of the penalty. We've been working on time penalties for a long time, which is a bit wrong because you are a bit of a victim of your own luck in a way.

"If you've got a safety car, two laps to go, which could have been the case in that scenario, then you go from sixth to last. If you are in a position like Fernando, you only lose two places, so I think there's something to look into and try to improve for the future."

Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

"It was obviously quite different from how he had taken the corner beforehand. Giving a penalty for it potentially creates a very, very tricky precedent for everybody, giving a car a penalty for no contact.

"Quite frankly, it wasn't a crash out of avoidance. I could understand if George was trying to avoid Fernando and had to swerve off the track, then, yes, understandable.

"But giving someone a penalty for causing dirty air. I'm sure a lot of qualifying sessions would go very differently if we started doing that, so I was a bit surprised by the penalty."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

"I thought it (the penalty) was ridiculous, to be honest. I don't think he did anything stupid. He was just preparing the exit of the corner, and for me, it was ridiculous.

"To get a drive-through penalty for an incident that doesn't even involve any contact between the cars or anything like that, I don't really understand it. The penalty, in general, is kind of a joke.

"Where do you draw that line between driving unnecessarily slowly and being tactical? And it's not like he (Alonso) braked and George ran into the back of him like. George did the corner and didn't run into the back of him at all. Unfortunately, it lost him downforce and he had a moment, but that's racing."

Valtteri Bottas (Stake)

"I was quite surprised about the penalty, to be honest. Yeah, it's on the limit. It's clear what he did, that he tried to kind of kill the momentum of Georgia for the back stretch.

"I think if George would have not ended up in the wall, or going off the track, probably then there would have not been a penalty but it (the crash) made it look quite dramatic.

"I still feel the car ahead should always be allowed to choose the speed and the line. But it's a fine line what you can do. I was quite surprised by that."

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