George Russell has said the “correct decision” has ultimately been made in the outcome of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, even if it did cost the Mercedes driver a podium.
After Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso crossed the line third, a 10-second post-race penalty was then applied after he was found to have supposedly incorrectly served a five-second penalty in his pit box, with a mechanic inadvertently touching his car with the rear jack before five seconds had elapsed.
The FIA subsequently issued Alonso with a further time penalty, promoting Mercedes driver Russell into third on Sunday night – and even having the trophy for third place taken down to the Mercedes garage as a result.
But after an appeal from Aston Martin, the FIA overturned its decision after the team showed multiple examples of precedent when a team member accidentally touching the car went unpunished, meaning the third place went back to Alonso – a rather unorthodox way of bringing up his 100th podium in Formula 1.
Russell has now responded to being dropped back to fourth place in Saudi Arabia, believing that the right outcome has now been reached all round – while mentioning a sense of bemusement at the “confusion” the late-night changearounds had in Jeddah.
“P4 it is then!” Russell wrote on Twitter. “Correct decision in the end but a shame for all the fans and everyone involved that we had all that confusion. Still a strong weekend. Let’s keep it going.”
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After the result was confirmed, Alonso posted a hilarious picture asking Russell to bring the trophy back to him for earning third place on the night.
However, with the drivers and teams now having gone their separate ways, Alonso may well have to find himself waiting to receive that trophy, with the Mercedes driver replying to the two-time World Champion with: “Until next time amigo…”
Mercedes and Aston Martin end the first two rounds of the season level on 38 points apiece in the Constructors’ Championship, with a pair one-two finishes and a fastest lap point for Red Bull already putting them on 87 – 49 points clear of their rivals after just two races.