Alonso reprimanded for ignoring blue flags

Fernando Alonso has been been handed a reprimand for ignoring blue flags in the final part of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Alonso reprimanded for ignoring blue flags

The McLaren driver was summoned by the stewards after the race for having interfered in the battle for the lead between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the penultimate lap of the Suzuka event.

The stewards found that Alonso, who was in a battle for 10th position with Felipe Massa, had not let the leaders through as soon as it was possible for him to do so.

"Alonso was shown a solid blue indicator light on his dash and waved blue flags between Turn 14 and Turn 15 on Lap 51," the stewards said.

"He also had received a flashing blue light informing him that race leader Lewis Hamilton was closing on him for over a lap before. Alonso let Hamilton pass during lap 52 at Turn 11.

"The drivers have been told in drivers' briefings that the provisions of the International Sporting Code, that they 'must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity' means that they should do this for lapping cars regardless of their current battle. Stewards concluded that Alonso did not do this.

"Alonso noted in the hearing that there was an opportunity allow Hamilton to pass on the front straight, but not thereafter until Turn 11. The Stewards accepted that there are limited safe places to let a car past between Turns 2 and 9 which contributed to the length of time it took to allow Hamilton past.

"In applying the penalty, the Stewards compared this incident to other similar incidents and considered that while a breach, this was less severe than others and that when he did move over he gave plenty of room, and subsequently to Verstappen."

The Spaniard was given his first reprimand of the 2017 season and also handed two penalty points, also his first of the year.

Alonso insisted after the race that his delay in letting the leaders through had not affected the outcome of the race.

"Hamilton was leading and the Red Bull was second," said Alonso. "I don't know it I waited two or three corners more or less, but they finished in that order so there was no big implication in the race's final outcome.

"Whatever they decide we will accept it and we'll try better next time."

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