x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Alonso and Hamilton penalised after Malaysia GP collison

Both drivers receive a 20-second penalty from race stewards, resulting in the McLaren driver dropping to eighth in the classified standings.

KUALA LUMPUR // The collision between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in the Malaysia Grand Prix and the subsequent stewards' penalties are just the latest chapter in the long-standing enmity between the Formula One rivals.

The former teammates were fighting over a podium spot in the closing laps when Alonso clipped the rear wheel of Hamilton's McLaren, snapping off the left end plate on the Ferrari's front wing, and damaging the floor of the McLaren.

Alonso was forced to pit immediately and finished sixth, while Hamilton's race unravelled as he struggled both with the damaged floor and worn tires in the final few laps, dropping from third to seventh.

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Stewards gave both drivers a 20-second penalty; Alonso for causing the collision and Hamilton for changing direction more than once to defend his position. It was not enough to cost Alonso sixth place, but it did drop Hamilton below Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi into eighth.

Despite their similar punishments, the two drivers left Malaysia with conflicting emotions: Hamilton described the race as a "disaster" and questioned his team's strategy, while Alonso was buoyed by Ferrari's competitiveness in race conditions.

"That's racing [the collision], but that wasn't the biggest problem to me," Hamilton said. "Our strategy wasn't good. So [the collision] doesn't really matter ... I'm sure it wasn't great [for the car and its downforce]. But really the strategy was the main impact."

Hamilton said his pit stops were earlier than he had wanted. He was in second place — only 3.9 secs behind the race leader Sebastian Vettel — at the midway point of the race, but was leapfrogged by teammate Jenson Button after the third set of stops and then subsequently had the collision with Alonso.

While Button managed to do the last 19 laps on one set of tires, Hamilton could not make them last that long enough, running wide off the track at one point as he was passed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa, Renault's Nick Heidfeld and Red Bull's Mark Webber.

"It was a disaster ... It was a really terrible race," he added. "I had a shocking race to be honest, it was absolutely shocking. But that's racing."

His old rival Alonso was more positive despite the sixth-place finish.

"[The collision] cost me maybe the podium today," Alonso said. But the Spaniard added the car felt "much better today. We were fighting with the McLarens, with Webber as well so that was a surprise for us ... It was a good surprise today, fighting with them."

Alonso and Hamilton were teammates at McLaren in 2007, but the relationship between the Spaniard and the then-rookie Briton quickly deteriorated and Alonso returned to Renault in 2008 before joining Ferrari in 2010.