George Russell displayed excellent sportsmanship as he sympathized with Fernando Alonso following a harsh post-race penalty.
Russell benefited from the F1 stewards’ move to penalize Alonso after the race in Jeddah, but he still thought it was a harsh decision, despite the fact that it earned him a podium finish.
Russell finished the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in fourth place, little over five seconds behind Alonso, who took third. Yet after the Spaniard had already received his award and stood on the stage, the officials took it away from him.
After watching the video, they discovered that a mechanic had touched the back of his car with a jack before he had fully served a five-second time penalty during the race. As a result, 10 seconds were added to Alonso’s race time by the stewards who determined that the team had acquired an advantage.
Russell outranked the 41-year-old and will now receive the trophy and a few additional championship points. Despite his obvious happiness at receiving them, the Brit couldn’t help but feel bad for Alonso.
Once the penalty was confirmed, Russell was also captured on camera giving Alonso a hearty hug.
“I’m pleased to come home in P4, but I think the penalty for Fernando was pretty harsh,” he said. “They are deserving podium finishers today but I’ll take an extra trophy, so I’m not complaining too much.”
After receiving a favorable outcome, Russell was questioned about his opinion of his current car.
“You’ve got to give credit to what Red Bull have done,” the Mercedes driver said. “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.”