Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has argued that the glass bottle that sat perilously on the track for several laps during Sunday's European Grand Prix in Valencia was the product of fans' 'disgust' at Lewis Hamilton's scant penalty and the contrasting 'injustice' of the home hero's ill-treatment at the hands of FIA stewards.
McLaren-Mercedes' Hamilton was dealt a drive-through penalty for having broken the rules by overtaking the safety car on his way to the pits on lap nine of the race around the Spanish city's harbourside streets, whilst Alonso waited dutifully in-line behind the Mercedes-Benz road car – brought out following erstwhile world championship leader Mark Webber's terrifying acrobatics display – before making his own way to the pit-lane for new tyres at the end of the lap.
The consequent loss of time for the Spaniard – allied to the stewards' excruciatingly slow decision to punish his former team-mate and bitter rival, meaning the Briton was able to build up a sufficient cushion so as not to lose a place when he eventually did serve his penalty – meant that the pair ended the race respectively second (Hamilton) and eighth (Alonso). Prior to the appearance of the safety car, they had been running together on-track in second and third, and the Ferrari star was arguably the quicker of the two.
Whilst Hamilton acknowledged that the glass bottle seemingly thrown onto the circuit later on in the race was 'really quite dangerous' – given the speeds at which the drivers were travelling, and requiring some time before it was rescued by a gallant marshal – Alonso opined that it was a sign of spectators' anger at the way in which he had unfairly lost out for respecting the rules.
“I feel sorry for the public who came to watch this race – 70,000 fans came to see the spectacle of F1 and they have seen a race ruined by the safety car and everything that followed on from that,” blasted the 22-time grand prix-winner.
“The attitude of the public is understandable – they were disgusted by what they were seeing and the injustices that were happening. There was a bottle on the track, which is a reaction that is not normal and it should not have happened.”
“You always keep your eyes on the track and I saw it there in the middle of the road, thinking that if you hit that bottle at that speed there are all kinds of things that could happen,” added Hamilton, in an interview with the official F1 website.
“It could have broken my wing, it could have hit my tyre, it could have spat me off into the wall, I could have hit it and it would have been propelled towards the guy behind me – just as we saw last year in Hungary with Felipe [Massa]. This was really quite dangerous.”
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