Japanese GP: Fernando Alonso gets reprimand and penalty points for Lewis Hamilton blue flags delay
McLaren driver punished for holding up Suzuka race leader
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 08/10/17 11:29am
Fernando Alonso received a reprimand and had penalty points placed on his licence for ignoring blue flags when being lapped by Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the Japanese GP.
Alonso was battling Felipe Massa for the final points place but was caught by race leader Hamilton, who was being harried by Verstappen's Red Bull.
Both drivers eventually lapped the McLaren, but Alonso was investigated by the stewards after the race for not letting the Mercedes past sooner.
Stewards later ruled Alonso did not let Hamilton through at the earliest opportunity.
However, in mitigation, they accepted the Spaniard's explanation that there had been limited options to do so and therefore decided that "while a breach, this was less severe than others and that when he did move over he gave plenty of room" to Hamilton and then Verstappen.
Rather than issuing any time penalty or sanction for the next race, Alonso was handed a reprimand and two penalty points on his racing licence.
Full stewards' verdict
'The Stewards examined video evidence, positioning data and heard from Fernando Alonso, the driver of car 14 and the team representative.
'Alonso was shown a solid blue indicator light on his dash and waved blue flags between Turn 14 and Turn 15 on Lap 51. He also had received a flashing blue light informing him that race leader Lewis Hamilton was closing on him for over a lap before.
'Alonso let Hamilton pass during lap 52 at Turn 11. The drivers have been told in drivers' briefings that the provisions of the International Sporting Code, that they "must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity" means that they should do this for lapping cars regardless of their current battle.
'Stewards concluded that Alonso did not do this. Alonso noted in the hearing that there was an opportunity allow Hamilton to pass on the front straight, but not thereafter until Turn 11. The Stewards accepted that there are limited safe places to let a car past between Turns 2 and 9 which contributed to the length of time it took to allow Hamilton past.
'In applying the penalty, the Stewards compared this incident to other similar incidents and considered that while a breach, this was less severe than others and that when he did move over he gave plenty of room, and subsequently to Verstappen.
'The Stewards, therefore, applied a Reprimand (Driving) and 2 penalty points.'
Don't miss this week's F1 Report as Natalie Pinkham is joined by Marc Priestley and new GP3 champion George Russell to round up and discuss all the stories from the Japanese GP. Watch on Wednesday, October 11 at 8:30pm on Sky Sports F1.
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