George Russell shows true colours with reaction to Fernando Alonso penalty after Saudi GP

Irish Mirror   19/03/2023 19:34

George Russell showed great sportsmanship as he expressed his sympathy for Fernando Alonso after a "harsh" post-race penalty.

Alonso finished the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in third place with Russell a little over five seconds behind in fourth. But after the Spaniard had already collected his trophy on the podium, he was stripped of it by the stewards.

They reviewed footage which showed a mechanic had touched the back of his car with a jack before he had properly served a five-second penalty during the race. The stewards deemed that they gained an advantage as a result, and 10 seconds were added to Alonso's race time.

It meant Russell leapfrogged the 41-year-old and will get that trophy and a few extra championship points. While he was clearly pleased to get those, the Brit couldn't help but feel sorry for Alonso.

"I'm pleased to come home in P4, but I think the penalty for Fernando was pretty harsh," he said in the Jeddah media pen. "They are deserving podium finishers today. But I'll take an extra trophy, so I'm not complaining too much."

TV cameras also showed Russell give Alonso a big hug after the news of the penalty had been announced.

Fernando Alonso lost his podium after the race in Jeddah

Asked about his assessment of his current car after a strong result, Russell added: "You've got to give credit to what Red Bull have done. The gap they have to the rest of the field is, I think, bigger than we've probably seen since Mercedes in 2014.

"It's a serious gap and I guess everybody needs to keep working harder to understand how to close it. But we know we didn't make the right decisions over the winter and I think we've gained some of that performance quicker than you would do ordinarily.

"So everything is not all lost. We're still going to be fighting as hard as we can. We want to win races this year and we want to be in the championship hunt. Equally, we've got to be realistic, focus on ourselves and just get the fundamentals right for the long-term."

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