Motor racing-Alonso critical of FIA after losing 100th podium

Formula One F1 - Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - March 19, 2023 Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso drinks champagne on the podium after finishing third place in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix before he was handed a 10 second time penalty that drops him to fourth place in the final results REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

(Reuters) - Fernando Alonso criticised Saudi Arabian Grand Prix stewards on Sunday for a 10-second post-race penalty that denied him a 100th career podium in Formula One and a second in two races for Aston Martin.

The 41-year-old double world champion questioned why it took so long for the sanction to come through for an infringement at a pitstop while serving a five-second penalty more than 30 laps earlier.

"It doesn’t hurt much, to be honest," Alonso told Sky Sports television. "I was on the podium, I did pictures, I took the trophy. I celebrated with the champagne. Now I have apparently three points less.

"I think it's more an FIA poor show today, more than disappointment for ourselves," he said referring to the governing body.

"You can't apply a penalty 35 laps after the pitstop. They had enough time to really inform about the penalty. If I knew that, maybe I open 11 seconds to the car behind. Today we didn't put on a good show, I think, for our fans.

"They told me just five seconds in the first stint and I opened seven or eight. Then in the second there was no information at all, not even investigated."

The original penalty was applied for an incorrect starting position and the second for incorrectly serving that penalty, apparently because the rear jack made contact with the car before the five seconds were up.

That lifted Mercedes driver George Russell to third place, his first podium of the campaign, but the Briton was supportive of his rival.

"The penalty on Fernando was harsh. They are deserving podium finishers today but I'll take an extra trophy," he said. "I'm not complaining."

Aston Martin reviewed the incident with stewards and team principal Mike Krack left open the possibility of an appeal.

"First of all we need to look at the videos, what happened exactly, so this is what we are doing now. So I cannot really say at the moment where this is going to go," he told Sky.

"The regulation said you may not work on the car, it's maybe a little bit ambiguous but this is something that we need to look at, we have a clear procedure for it, we have a countdown, and everything was fully safe.

"No advantage came from it so let's see how this develops."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Clare Fallon)

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