Damon Hill defends Fernando Alonso amid “gamesmanship” George Russell incident

“I just think that this has to be a part of the sport..."

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park,
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Damon Hill has defended Fernando Alonso  from accusations of “dastardly tricks” after his F1 Australian Grand Prix incident.

Aston Martin driver Alonso was hit with a 20-second time penalty last weekend in Melbourne, with the FIA citing “potentially dangerous driving” for a situation involving George Russell.

Heading into Turn 6, Alonso slowed down before accelerating and, although the two cars did not make contact, Russell crashed out of the race.

Ex-F1 champ Hill told the F1 Nation podcast: “I do think this is where we get into the difficult area of: what is racing and what are dastardly tricks?

“You have to assume that the FIA want to stop people doing things that are potentially dangerous.

“But, then, it is dangerous! Motor racing is dangerous!

“You have to be careful when you’re going for a move on someone, when you are closing on someone.

“You have to be prepared for them to do things that are gamesmanship.

“I just think that this has to be a part of the sport.

“Being wary of an individual because they’ve got form? Or they are clever? Or whatever…

“I just think the idea that you’ve got to stop people doing anything unexpected… that’s not really racing.”

Martin Brundle had previously likened the incident to another involving Alonso, against David Coulthard in Germany in 2003.

Brundle wrote for Sky: “Alonso popped his saintly halo on and went to see the Race Stewards, explaining how he intended to approach turn six differently for a better exit speed which included decelerating 100 metres earlier, brushing the brake, and even a downshift.

“This is what caught Russell out. We've seen Alonso do that before in Nurburgring in 2003 against David Coulthard, and he had exactly the same playbook.”

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