Oscar Piastri’s George Russell verdict as Japan clash catches FIA attention

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren's Oscar Piastri speaks to media at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri.

The stewards chose not to punish George Russell after a lunge on Oscar Piastri at the Suzuka chicane, a decision which will not get many complaints out of Piastri.

With McLaren racer Piastri stuck up behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix, that saw Piastri come under pressure from Mercedes’ George Russell as the trio battled over P6.

Oscar Piastri rules George Russell contact ‘racing incident’

With Piastri struggling to make headway in his efforts to pass Alonso, Russell unleashed a lunge into the chicane, he and Piastri touching briefly as Piastri went over the run-off and re-joined still ahead of Russell, who eventually passed Piastri for P7 on the final lap.

The stewards summoned both drivers but decided to take no further action, which Piastri believes was a fair outcome.

“I think it’s probably a bit of a racing incident,” he said after the race.

“He finished in front of me anyway, so I think it was fine.”

Alonso hatched up a DRS-shaped plan in his efforts to defend from Piastri and Russell, the two-time World Champion keeping Piastri behind within his DRS range in order to help him fend off the Russell attack, thus benefiting both of them.

And Piastri said he was well aware that this is what Alonso was up to.

“I could tell that Fernando was trying to keep me there by the way he was using his energy,” Piastri confirmed.

“I think with how difficult it is to follow in these cars, it’s quite a good strategy to stop a quicker car coming through.

“A few tough moments with George but in the end, I made a mistake and he got past.

“Disappointing to let that one slip right at the end, just struggled a bit in general today.”

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Russell similarly dished out the praise to Alonso over his tactics, reflecting on them as “smart” as the Aston Martin driver clung on to that P6 result.

Asked by Sky F1 if he was aware of the DRS games being played by Alonso, Russell laughed and replied: “Of course.

“Fernando playing games? That’s new!

“It was smart from Fernando and I expected nothing less, that’s part of racing.”

Piastri leaves Suzuka P6 in the Drivers’ Championship on 32 points, with Russell and Alonso directly behind both on 24.

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