APRIL 10, 2011
Hamilton and Alonso penalised
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton both had 20 seconds added to their elapsed race times in the Malaysian GP as a result of rule contraventions in their on-track battle that resulted in Alonso having to pit for a new nose.
The penalties were actually drive throughs but their post-race award means that they were commuted to 20s race time additions. It means that although Alonso retains his sixth position, Hamilton drops to eighth, behind Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber.
"It doesn't change my position so it's not a big drama," Alonso said. "It was a racing incident, I tried to overtake, we touched each other, I broke the wing and had to pit again so I lost the possibility of a podium but I will try again at the next race."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: "Fernando tried to dive out of the slipstream and he's not the first driver to make a mistake doing that and he won't be the last - you underestimate the closing velocity as you are pulling out and you wash out a bit at that point too, it's as simple as that. But I thought that a penalty for both drivers was a bit harsh."
Hamilton, however, was not penalised for his part in the incident where contact was made, but for his defence of position a lap earlier, where he was adjudged to have made more than one change of direction on the straight, in breach of article 20.2 of the F1 regulations.
"I must admit I'm a bit surprised by both penalties but it just rounds the day off nicely..." smiled Whitmarsh.