Formula 1 Racing

Alonso picked “wrong corner” to try defensive F1 games with Russell

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, George Russell, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Alonso was handed a post-event drive-through, which became a 20-second time penalty, for the way he slowed up Russell as they battled for sixth place.

The FIA race stewards deemed that Alonso had driven in a “potentially” dangerous manner by slowing 100-metres earlier than normal, which they think contributed to Russell losing control behind him and crashing his Mercedes out of the race.

While the manner of Alonso’s sanction surprised a lot of people, Hulkenberg thinks that the Aston Martin driver was actually wrong to have driven in the way he did.

Asked by for his views on the incident ahead of the Japanese GP, Hulkenberg said: “My personal view, when I saw it all, I wasn’t very impressed with Fernando’s tactics there to be honest.

“Melbourne, after all, it’s kind of a street circuit. It’s quite narrow there, we approach the corner with 260-270km/h, and it’s a blind exit. And if, for whatever reason, the flag system or someone is late, and one of us would have T-boned George, I think the outcome and the way he feels might have been also quite different.

“So I think whilst that tactic is quite a common one in F1, 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.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, George Russell, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

While Hulkenberg is aware of the defensive tactics drivers need to do, he thinks that some thoughts needs to be given about where such moves are made – as he said the configuration of Turn 6 potentially needed looking at.

“Like I said, I think it’s the wrong speed range, the wrong corner,” he said. “I think also the [speed] change, the deceleration, was quite a big delta, obviously. So yeah, it’s easy to overreact, and lose the rear in the car, like it happened to George.

“Obviously we’ve seen that corner last year, also with Alex [Albon] who crashed there, that barrier puts the car back on the circuit.

“I’m sure we need to look at that and change something there for the future, because that’s really not good when you come around the corner, and you have a car in the middle of the track.”

Hulkenberg expects the Alonso incident to be discussed at the Friday night F1 drivers’ briefing in Japan, as he questioned the consistency of comments made.

“What I also don’t understand is right after, on the radio, he’s…

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