F1: Fernando Alonso’s podium reinstated in farcical scenes at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Fernando Alonso earned a second consecutive podium of the 2023 season despite initially being handed a 10-second post-race penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard, who had briefly led the race, was given a five-second penalty for an incorrect start position, which he served when teammate Lance Stroll retired from the race on lap 18.

The 41-year-old took to the podium to celebrate his third place behind the dominant Red Bulls of race winner Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.

But he was then almost immediately slapped with the further time penalty when race stewards decided he had not carried out the earlier penalty correctly.

It proved a sour end to the weekend following jubilant scenes in the Aston Martin garage as Alonso described his frustration.

“It doesn’t hurt much to be honest, I was on the podium, I did the pictures, I held the trophy, I celebrated with the champagne but apparently I have three points less.

“I think the FIA fell short today, more than disappointment from ourselves. You cannot apply a penalty 35 laps after the pit stop. They had enough time to inform us about the penalty.

“Maybe if I knew that I would open up 11 seconds on the car behind. Today we didn’t put on a good show for the fans.”

However, a further post-race review enacted by Aston ended in Alonso being reinstated to third place ahead of George Russell.

Russell had said: “I think the penalty for Fernando is pretty harsh, they are the deserving podium finishers today.”