Fernando Alonso slapped with monster penalty for role in terrifying George Russell crash | F1 | Sport

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Fernando Alonso has been hit with a 20-second post-race penalty and three points on his super license for ‘potentially dangerous driving’ during the final lap of the Australian Grand Prix.

The Aston Martin driver had been battling Mercedes’ George Russell throughout the final stint and the two cars were within a second of one another heading onto the final lap.

After Russell closed to within half a second of the Aston Martin ahead of him, Alonso braked early on the entry to turn six, catching the Brit off-guard and sending him spinning off into the gravel. His Mercedes hit the outside wall at turn seven, sending him back across the track and upside down.

Discussing the incident after the race, Russell told Sky Sports F1: “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.”

Asked whether or not he was brake tested, he added: “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.”

Alonso’s conduct was duly referred to the stewards and after a lengthy period of review, the decision was made that his ‘potentially dangerous’ driving warranted an extreme punishment.

A report from the FIA explained: “Telemetry shows that Alonso lifted slightly more than 100m earlier than he ever had going into that corner during the race.”

Additionally, the Spaniard “braked very slightly at a point that he did not usually brake” and “downshifted at a point he never usually downshifted,” making it clear that he had changed his driving style on the final lap.

The stewards later noted: “Did he choose to do something, with whatever intent, that was extraordinary, ie lifting, braking, downshifting and all the other elements of the manoeuvre over 100m earlier than previously, and much greater than was needed to simply slow earlier for the corner?

“Yes by his own account of the incident he did, and in the opinion of the stewards by doing these things, he drove in a manner that was at very least “potentially dangerous” given the very high-speed nature of that point of the track.”

The 20-second penalty dropped Alonso from P6 to P8 with Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda the beneficiaries of the FIA’s decision.

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