Untelevised team radio reveals cheeky dig at Fernando Alonso from George Russell’s engineer

Oliver Harden
A side-profile shot of George Russell with an inset of Fernando Alonso

George Russell vs Fernando Alonso: the F1 rivalry nobody knew they needed?

An untelevised snippet of team radio has revealed the moment George Russell’s race engineer aimed a cheeky dig at Fernando Alonso at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Alonso and Russell have established something of a rivalry in recent weeks after the Aston Martin driver was hit with a 20-second time penalty for “potentially dangerous driving” in defence against Russell in the closing laps of the Australian Grand Prix.

Fun and games continue between Fernando Alonso and George Russell

Alonso’s punishment came even though the two cars did not even make contact prior to Russell’s crash at Turn 6 in Melbourne, with the two-time World Champion vowing at Suzuka last weekend that the penalty “will not change” his style of racing.

The pair were almost reunited in Japan, where Russell caught Alonso and Oscar Piastri, holding sixth and seventh place respectively, on fresher tyres in the final laps.

As PlanetF1.com’s post-race data analysis revealed, Alonso employed another defensive trick by slowing deliberately to give Piastri DRS to help the McLaren driver defend from Russell.

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Russell eventually found a way past Piastri on the last lap but was unable to catch Alonso, whose defensive tactics were likened to fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz’s DRS trick at the end of the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix.

Alonso quipped after the race that the FIA could disqualify him from the F1 2024 World Championship after he had to get creative in defence for the second successive race.

A roundup of the best Japanese GP team radio published to F1’s official YouTube channel has revealed the moment Russell’s engineer poked fun at Alonso’s defence, joking that the Aston Martin driver “had a couple of issues with his throttle” at the end of the race.

“OK, that’s P7. Good job this afternoon, pace looked good,” Russell is told at the chequered flag.

“It looked like at the end there Alonso had a couple of issues with his throttle. It seemed to fix itself on the final lap.”

Russell appeared to laugh at the remark before responding: “Yeah…”

Speaking after the race, Russell issues a light-hearted response to the suggestion that Alonso was playing games in the closing laps.

“Fernando, playing? That’s new! That was intelligent from him and I didn’t expect anything less from him.”

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