Hulkenberg Criticizes Alonso’s Choice of Defensive Tactics in Russell Battle

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Hulkenberg: Alonso picked “wrong corner” to try defensive F1 games with Russell

Alonso incurred a post-event drive-through penalty, ultimately translated into a 20-second time penalty, for impeding Russell’s progress during their tussle for sixth place.

The FIA race stewards concluded that Alonso’s driving behavior, specifically slowing down 100 meters earlier than usual, posed a “potentially” hazardous situation. They attributed this action to Russell losing control and crashing his Mercedes out of the race.

Though the nature of Alonso’s penalty raised eyebrows, Hulkenberg believes the Aston Martin driver’s approach was flawed.

When questioned by about the incident before the Japanese Grand Prix, Hulkenberg remarked, “My personal opinion, upon reviewing the footage, left me unimpressed with Fernando’s tactics. Melbourne, being akin to a street circuit, features narrow passages where speeds reach 260-270km/h. Negotiating blind exits under such circumstances can prove perilous. Had one of us inadvertently collided with George due to a delayed flag signal or similar factors, the consequences could have been severe. Thus, employing such tactics in that particular corner, given its speed and visibility challenges, is ill-advised and engenders hazardous situations.”

Nico Hulkenberg
Nico Hulkenberg (Credits: X)

While acknowledging the necessity for defensive maneuvers, Hulkenberg advocated for a reconsideration of the locations where such tactics are employed. He specifically cited Turn 6’s layout as warranting scrutiny.

“In my view, Turn 6’s speed profile and layout make it an inappropriate location for such maneuvers,” he continued. “The abrupt deceleration differential exacerbates the risk, as evidenced by George’s loss of control. Moreover, incidents like Alex Albon’s crash at the same corner last year underscore the need for reevaluation. The presence of barriers that jut back onto the track compounds the danger.”

Hulkenberg anticipated the Alonso incident to be a focal point of discussion during the F1 drivers’ briefing in Japan, questioning the consistency of statements made.

“What baffles me is the immediate post-incident radio communication regarding throttle issues – whether stuck or not,” he remarked. “Subsequently, this narrative shifted to justifying it as standard procedure and tactics. Such inconsistency is noteworthy and casts doubt on the genuineness of the explanation provided. Personally, I found this aspect disappointing.”

Alonso, expressing dissatisfaction following the Australian GP, contested the severity of his penalty.

“I aimed to optimize my exit speed from Turn 6 to fend off Russell’s challenge,” he explained. “This is standard practice for any racing driver, and I didn’t perceive it as unsafe. It’s disheartening to receive a penalty from the stewards for what I deem as hard but fair racing. Nevertheless, I’m relieved that George emerged unscathed. Seeing his car obstructing the track was unsettling.”


By Michael Smith

Hi. Hailing from Manila, I am an avid consumer of anime, gaming, football and professional wrestling. You can mostly find me either writing articles, binging shows or engaged in an engrossing discussion about the said interests.

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