Formula 1 Racing

Were stewards right to penalise Alonso over his driving before Russell’s crash? · RaceFans

Were stewards right to penalise Alonso over his driving before Russell's crash? · RaceFans

Fernando Alonso has been penalised for his role in George Russell’s heavy crash at the end of the Australian Grand Prix.

The stewards ruled Alonso slowed unusually early on his approach to turn six while Russell was trying to overtake him. However the pair made no contact before Russell went off and hit the barriers.

Does Alonso deserve a share in the blame for Russell’s crash?


How it happened

On lap 56, passing under the bridge before turn six, Russell can see Alonso ahead
Russell closed slightly on Alonso’s car as they reached the corner
On lap 57, Russell is slightly closer as they pass the bridge
Russell closes suddenly on Alonso as they approach the corner, then loses control

Russell was closing on Alonso as the race entered its final laps. On lap 56 he got close enough to the Aston Martin in the DRS zone approaching turn nine for Alonso to move off the racing line to defend.

The next time around Russell was slightly closer again. Approaching turn six, before the next DRS zone began, Russell suddenly drew closer to Alonso, lost control of his car as he turned into the corner and crashed. Russell was uninjured.

What they said

Speaking after the race Alonso said he was trying to lap as quickly as he could to keep Russell behind while coping with a problem in his car.

“I had some issues for the last 15 laps, something on the battery on the deployment,” he said. “So definitely I was struggling a little bit at the end of the race. But I cannot focus on the cars behind.”

“I knew that he was coming and he was in the DRS distance for already five or six laps,” he added. “So it was very close. I was just doing qualifying laps and trying to maximise the pace.”

The stewards said in their verdict Alonso told them he did slow down more than usual for the corner in an attempt to improve his exit and keep Russell behind, but that he slowed down more than intended and had to speed up again. There is no mention of any car problem in the stewards’ decision.

Russell said he was surprised by how suddenly Alonso slowed in front of him. “I was half a second behind him approaching the corner and then suddenly he slowed up very dramatically and got back on the power,” he said. “I just wasn’t expecting it and it caught me by surprise.”

The official verdict

The stewards reported that telemetry from Alonso’s car showed he lifted the throttle 100 metres earlier than he had done on any previous lap. He also touched the brakes at an earlier point,…

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