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Alonso insists he can't focus on car behind, but stewards disagree

Alonso insists he can’t focus on car behind, but stewards disagree

Alonso insists he can't focus on car behind, but stewards disagree

Fernando Alonso was slapped with a post race penalty for what the race stewards of the 2024 Australian Grand Prix labelled as potentially dangerous driving while defending from George Russell.

The double Formula 1 Champion was defending from Mercedes’ Russell towards the end of the race, the latter attacking with a tyre advantage.

However on the final lap, Russell lost control of his W15 at the exit of Turn 6, crashing heavily into the barriers and ending up stranded in the middle of the track after Alonso appeared to slow down significantly, the #63 Mercedes losing downforce.

Immediately after the race, Alonso insisted he did nothing wrong, he told Sky Sports F1: “Obviously I was focusing in front of me and not behind.

“I had some issues for the last 15 laps or something on the battery, on the deployment, so definitely I was struggling a little bit at the end of the race but I cannot focus on the car behind.

“But he’s ok, apparently. I saw the car and I was very worried,” Alonso added.

Russell on the other hand did not want to dragged into an conclusions, and also admitting he shouldered some blame for not anticipating Alonso slowing down.

Russell: I’ve gone off and that’s on me

He said: “My take is I’ve gone off and that’s on me. I was half a second behind Fernando 100m before the corner then suddenly he came towards me extremely quick and I was right on his gearbox. I don’t know if he had a problem or not.

“He’s off to the stewards and that’s a bit bizarre in a circumstance like this. I’ve got nothing more to say right now. I need to see everything, just disappointed to end the race like that.

“It’s clear he braked 100m before the corner and was back on the throttle again and took the corner normally. We’ve already seen the data of that,” the Briton pointed out.

However, Russell insisted he would wait for the stewards before accusing Alonso of foul play, he said: “I’m not going to accuse him of anything until we see further. I was right behind him for many, many laps. I was half a second behind him before the corner

“Then, suddenly he slowed up dramatically and got back on the power. I wasn’t expecting it and he caught me by surprise. That part is on me. It’s interesting he’s been called by the stewards. I’m intrigued as to what they have to say,” the Mercedes driver maintained.

Now the stewards have given their ruling on the incident and claimed in a statement after the race that Alonso was found to have driven in a “potentially dangerous” manner and in violation of Article 33.4 of the sporting regulations that stipulate that “At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”

Based on that Alonso was given a drive through penalty translated into a 20s post race time penalty which drops him from sixth to eighth in the race classification.

The Aston Martin driver was also given three penalty points on his license.