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Alonso: Disappointing to get penalty for hard but fair racing

Alonso: Disappointing to get penalty for hard but fair racing

Alonso: Disappointing to get penalty for hard but fair racing

Fernando Alonso is adamant he did nothing wrong when racing George Russell in the dying moments of the 2024 Australian GP insisting he was racing hard but fair.

Alonso was slapped with a drive through penalty which translated into a 20s post race time penalty which dropped him to eighth as all the explanation he gave to the stewards did not convince them that he did no wrong in his battle with the Mercedes driver.

The Spaniard also blamed issues with his hybrid system in the end as he was trying to keep Russell at bay, he told the media after the race: “We had some battery issues.

“I was complaining and asking the team because the car did change for the last 15 laps. So, I was concerned about the keeping the position. It [the battery] was derating more, it was a little bit inconsistent.”

However, after receiving the penalty, and speaking in Aston Martin‘s race report, Alonso said: “We were a little lucky with the timing of the Virtual Safety Car when Lewis [Hamilton] retired.

“Then I was pretty happy sat behind Checo [Perez] because I could use the DRS to pull a gap. I lost a lot of time when Charles [Leclerc] came out from the pits – but those seconds we gained proved to be gold dust at the end.

Alonso did what any racing driver would do

“In the closing laps, George caught me quickly,” the double Formula 1 Champion said of the Russell incident. “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.

“I wanted to maximise my exit speed from Turn Six 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,” he maintained.

As for Aston Martin’s overall performance, Alonso said: “This wasn’t the best weekend for us in terms of pace, but our race was well executed: good strategy, incredible pit-stops, great reliability.

“I think we probably scored more points today than our pace merited – but we’ll take that,” the 42-year-old concluded.

Aston Martin Team Principal Mike Krack  reflected on Alonso’s penalty, he said: “It was surprising to see him drop to P8 with the post-race penalty, but we have to accept the decision.”

(Additional reporting by Agnes Carlier from Melbourne)