Fernando Alonso penalised over crash that left George Russell screaming in terror


Fernando Alonso penalised over crash that left George Russell screaming in terror

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George Russell was left stranded in the middle of the track after his last lap shunt (Photo: Getty)

Fernando Alonso has been slapped with a 20-second time penalty for causing George Russell’s huge last lap crash at the Australian Grand Prix.

Russell was hunting down Alonso for sixth place in the closing stages of Sunday’s race Down Under, which was won by Carlos Sainz.

On the very last lap, Russell approached Alonso who had appeared to have braked very early, which threw the Brit off and caused his Mercedes to lose downforce.

This sent him into the barriers from which his car flipped onto its side and was left stranded in the middle of the track.

Thankfully the 26-year-old was okay and a virtual safety car alerted others to the danger and the slowed to avoid hitting him, but the exposed Russell was left in a panicked state.

He screamed in terror for the race to be stopped, shouting on the team radio: ‘Red flag, red flag, red flag. I’m in the middle of the track.

‘Red flag, red flag! Red, red, red, red, red. I’m in the middle. Red! F***ing hell.’

Mercedes brought the matter to the stewards, accusing Alonso of brake testing his rival, though the Aston Martin driver professed his innocence, and while Russell wouldn’t directly blame the 42-year-old, he was clearly unhappy with what went down.

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A few hours after the chequered flag, the stewards have ruled that Alonso was indeed to blame, slapping him with a 20-second penalty which has dropped the Spaniard from sixth to eighth, promoting teammate Lance Stroll and RB’s Yuki Tsunoda up a place.

Fernando Alonso has been dropped from sixth to eighth because of his role in the crash (Photo: Getty)

The steward’s explanation read: ‘Car 63 (Russell) was following Car 14 (Alonso) approximately 0.5 seconds behind as the cars approached turn six. Alonso explained to the stewards that he intended to approach turn six differently, lifting earlier, and with less speed into the corner, to get a better exit.

‘Russell explained to the stewards that from his perspective, Alonso’s manoeuvre was erratic, took him by surprise and caused him to close distance unusually fast, and with the resulting lower downforce at the apex of the corner, he lost control and crashed at the exit of the corner.

‘In considering the matter the stewards focused solely on the wording of the regulation which states: “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”.

‘In the opinion of the stewards, he [Alonso] drove in a manner that was at very least “potentially dangerous” given the very high speed nature of that point of the track.’

More to follow…

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