Controversy surrounding third place and hundredth podium for Spaniard Alonso

by Lorraine Williamson

The second race of the F1 season is over and it was pretty exciting. Especially for Fernando Alonso, who initially finished 3rd, but fell off the podium due to a wrongly executed penalty. Something had haunted him well into the race. 

On Sunday evening, the drivers raced at the Jeddah circuit in Saudi Arabia. The cards were already shuffled well during qualifying on Saturday. Everyone thought that Max Verstappen would finish in first place. However, this turned out to be slightly different. 

Dutch Max Verstappen is fastest but does not start at the front 

The Dutchman suffered problems with the drive shaft in Q2, which forced him to park his car. He therefore had to start from fifteenth place on Sunday. A difficult place as the circuit of Jeddah is very narrow and it is therefore difficult to overtake. The Spaniard Fernando Alonso was, just like during the first race in Bahrain, very fast and was allowed to start from second place, just behind Sergio Pérez from Mexico. 

Spaniard Alonso immediately takes the lead 

The start of the race went as expected. Alonso had a clear track from the front row and, as Pérez is not always quick to leave, he was able to take advantage and took the lead almost immediately. However, after a few laps it was found that the driver from Spain was too far to the left during the start and therefore received a penalty of 5 seconds at the first pit stop. 

Punishment for Alonso turns out wrong 

By lap 20, Pérez had taken the lead from Alonso when a safety car was called in as Lance Stroll retired. Many drivers used this moment to change tires. This was therefore the time for Alonso to serve his sentence, and when he also switched to new tires. However, what he didn’t know at the time was that this incident would come back to haunt him. 

At the restart Pérez was well away and Alonso continued to chase him in second place. In the meantime, Max caught up quite a bit in the first part of the race. Although it was difficult to overtake due to the high speed and the tight track, the Dutchman managed to take second place from Fernando Alonso later in the race. 

Cogesa Expats

Will Fernando Alonso finish with bronze? 

In the end, the Mexican Sergio Pérez managed to finish first. Max Verstappen kept second place until the end when he managed to get one extra point in the very last lap because he set the fastest race lap. With this, Max retained his first place in the world ranking. Fernando Alonso took third place and this is also his hundredth podium finish in his career. An important moment for him that was soon overshadowed. 

The FIA announced it gave the Spaniard an extra penalty of 10 seconds because he did not properly execute his first penalty of 5 seconds. One of the mechanics would have been working on the car within those 5 seconds. Something that is not allowed, whether there is an advantage or not. Therefore, with this extra penalty, Alonso fell off the podium and ended up behind Russell in fourth place. That also meant no hundredth podium for the Spaniard. 

Team Alonso from Spain is appealing 

Ultimately, Aston Martin, Alonso’s team, appealed the decision. More than three hours after the race, the FIA eventually reversed Alonso’s penalty, so in the end, he retained his third podium place. Russell, who initially benefited from the penalty for Alonso, also indicated that the FIA sometimes goes too far in all kinds of rules, while it would sometimes be better to use common sense instead of creating all kinds of extra rules. 

In the end, Fernando Alonso not only retains the bronze and his hundredth podium in his career, but is also still third in the Formula 1 world standings. The FIA announced on Monday morning that it wanted to review the rules after the controversy surrounding Alonso’s penalty . 

Also read: Fernando Alonso and Rafa Nadal on the map in Murcia

You may also like