Russell says giving P3 back to Alonso “was the right decision”

© Sam Bloxham for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

George Russell says Fernando Alonso was “the first person to tell me that I’d lost the position”, and jokes the Spaniard “clearly had some insider info”.

At the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the FIA once again confused everyone with their flawed decision-making.

First they handed Fernando Alonso a ten second post-race penalty for failing to correctly serve an earlier penalty for lining up incorrectly on the grid, which dropped him from the podium and promoted George Russell to P3, and then they reversed their decision some time after the race.

Ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Russell was asked to give his reaction to Alonso getting the third place back.

“Yeah, I mean, obviously, it was the right decision,” the Briton said.

“It was just a bit of a shame, what a mess it was for everybody else included, I think from my side and our side, we didn’t feel like we deserved to finish in third position.

“But obviously it’s quite a nice feeling when it’s handed to you. And then when it’s obviously taken away from you again… It was all a bit silly.

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“Fernando was actually the first person to tell me that I’d lost the position, because I bumped into him at the airport. So he clearly had some insider info.

“But congrats to him, he was a deserving P3 finisher.”

Russell was then asked if he feels he had maximised the potential of his car in Jeddah.

“Yeah, to be honest, I felt like Saudi was probably one of my strongest weekends I’ve ever had with Mercedes, from qualifying, really pleased with how that went, the race felt really strong.

“And P4 was, I think, the absolute maximum we could have achieved. I think the Ferraris were probably a little bit fast for us that weekend.

“We also had Stroll, who obviously had the failure, but he was right behind us. So P4 was a good result,” he concluded.

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