Alonso loses podium with post-race penalty
Fernando Alonso has been stripped of what would have been his 100th Formula One podium after a post-race penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The decision elevated George Russell into third, giving Mercedes its first podium finish of the year.
Alonso had served a five-second penalty ahead of his first pit-stop, a punishment for lining up outside his grid box at the start.
In the closing stages, Mercedes told the chasing Russell that Alonso might have a penalty, with suspicions growing Aston Martin pit crew had touched the car before he had been stationary for five seconds.
Alonso still finished third and celebrated on the podium.
Shortly after he had received his trophy, the stewards’ investigation was confirmed, with the 10-second penalty coming shortly afterwards and moving Russell up to third.
Lewis Hamilton finished 10.3 seconds behind Alonso in the race, meaning the Aston Martin driver narrowly avoided losing two positions.
The decision is consistent with the penalty Esteban Ocon got for not serving a penalty correctly during the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The penalty cost Aston Martin the chance to secure a first back-to-back F1 podiums, with Alonso also finishing third in Bahrain.
Red Bull duo swapped positions from that opening race, with Sergio Perez beating teammate Max Verstappen, who started 15th, to the win.