Nico Hulkenberg takes issue with Fernando Alonso and his story behind George Russell crash

Henry Valantine
Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso goes through the gravel at the Australian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso goes through the gravel.

Nico Hulkenberg has said he “wasn’t very impressed” with the tactics of Fernando Alonso in Melbourne, when he was defending from George Russell late on.

The FIA awarded Alonso a post-race drive-through penalty (converted to a 20-second time penalty) and three penalty points on his Super Licence for “potentially dangerous driving” against Russell, after being found to have slowed before Turn 6 when he otherwise wouldn’t have done in defence of his position.

Nico Hulkenberg ‘wasn’t very impressed’ with Fernando Alonso’s Melbourne tactics

Russell crashed at Turn 6 in the aftermath of Alonso’s defence, with his Mercedes then being catapulted back onto the middle of the circuit before race officials ended the Australian Grand Prix under Virtual Safety Car conditions.

While Alonso spoke up in defence of how he drove at the time, Haas driver Hulkenberg did not quite see it the same way – believing the double World Champion created “quite a dangerous situation” for the rest of the field.

Speaking to reporters at Suzuka when asked about the incident, Hulkenberg said: “My personal view, when I saw it all, I wasn’t very impressed with Fernando’s tactics there, to be honest.

“Because Melbourne, after all, it’s kind of a street circuit, it’s quite narrow there, we approach that corner with 260, 270 clicks, it’s a blind exit and if, for whatever reason, the flag system or someone is late and one of us would have T-boned George, I think you know the outcome – and the way he feels might have been also quite different.

“So I think whilst that tactic is quite a common one in Formula 1, in that particular corner, with that speed, with a blind exit, I think it’s the wrong corner to do it, and [it] produced quite a dangerous situation.”

Going further into the driving specifics of it, Hulkenberg explained that Russell’s crash would not have been a unique one among the drivers.

He added that the placing of the barriers at Turn 6 also make the corner particularly dangerous, with Alex Albon having also seen his car thrown back onto the circuit at the same corner in 2023.

Hulkenberg added: “I think it’s the wrong speed range, the wrong corner, and I think also the [gear] shift or the change, deceleration was quite a big delta, obviously. recommends

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“It’s easy to overreact and lose the rear in the car, like it happened to George. But obviously, we’ve seen that corner last year also with Alex who crashed there, that barrier puts a car back on the circuit.

“We need to look at that and change something there for the future, because that’s really not good, when you come around that corner and you have a car in the middle of the track.”

Nico Hulkenberg: Fernando Alonso throttle issue claim ‘doesn’t align’

Then addressing Alonso’s story directly, the two-time World Champion had initially claimed he had throttle issues after the race but, following his penalty, took to social media to post a lengthy statement to denounce it but did not mention the car problem he claimed to have.

That, Hulkenberg believes, puts a hole in the Aston Martin driver’s claims.

“What I also don’t understand is right after, you know, on the radio, he’s talking about throttle issues that, you know, throttle stuck or not stuck,” he said.

“But then later on, he doesn’t talk about that anymore. He just talks about ‘that is standard procedure and tactics’.

“So that doesn’t align and, you know, he seems to have changed his opinion there, but I wasn’t very impressed with that.”

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