Fernando Alonso tears into FIA after drinking Russell’s champagne
F1 preview: A lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
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Fernando Alonso has ripped into the FIA for a “poor show” after admitting it doesn’t hurt to lose P3 as he drank George Russell’s champagne. He criticised the FIA for their late application of a penalty which cost the Spaniard his 100th top-three finish in F1.
Alonso had finished third after beating Russell and Lewis Hamilton across the line. However, he was eventually moved back to firth after it emerged he would be hit with a 10-second penalty post race.
Alonso told Sky Sports F1: “It doesn’t hurt much to be honest. I was on the podium. I did the pictures, I took the trophy, I celebrate with champagne and now I have three points less, I don’t have 15, I have 12. But I think it’s more an FIA poor show today more than disappointment from ourselves. When you cannot apply a penalty 35 laps after the pit stop.
“They had enough time to really inform me about the penalty, if I knew that maybe I open 11 seconds to the car behind.” Alonso was hit with a 10-second penalty after it emerged that a mechanic had touched his car when serving a previous punishment.
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Race stewards had slapped him with a five-second penalty at the start of the Grand Prix for a grid infringement. News that Alonso could be hit with a major sanction emerged in the run-up to the chequered flag.
Russell admitted he was “pushing like a madman” to close up while Alonso’s race engineer urged the double world champion to pull out a five-second gap.
In the media pen, reporters pushed whether Alonso was confident he could have extended the gap even further to beat Russell. Alonso replied: “Yeah, yeah. No one told me. They told me just five seconds in the first and I opened seven or eight and then in the second there was no information at all.
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“I know the team is trying to review with the stewards right now because we didn’t fully understand the second penalty. As I said, I care but I don’t care that much because I celebrate and I have three points less, let’s try and recover it in Australia.”
Russell benefited from the penalty to pick up Mercedes first podium of the 2023 campaign. The 25-year-old suggested Alonso’s punishment was “harsh” and claimed Aston Martin had deserved the trophy.
However, his success came in controversial circumstances as Sky Sports F1 claimed the ex-Williams star ignored team orders to let Hamilton through.
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