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Yellow flags an issue only because Rosberg involved – Alonso

Fernando Alonso believes that the yellow flag incident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix has only become a controversy because it involved title contender Nico Rosberg.

Yellow flags an issue only because Rosberg involved – Alonso
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Fernando Alonso, McLaren on the drivers parade
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Polesitter Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1, second place Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31

Rosberg was allowed to keep pole position at the Hungaroring despite setting his best time while there were double-waved yellow flags at Turn 9 for Alonso’s stricken car.

The fact the German wasn’t penalised has sparked debate as to what constitutes a sufficient response to yellow flags, with both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel saying that the ruling sent a poor message.

However, giving his opinion on the situation at Hockenheim on Thursday, Alonso said he feels the entire episode has been overblown because of the driver involved – and that the stewards have enough information to come to the correct decision in such cases.

“I’ve been racing 16 years in F1,” said Alonso. “There were never issues [with yellow flags], apart from when you’re fighting for the world championship, or if Nico is doing it.

“So I don’t see any problem. It will not be a problem in the future, there is no need for clarification.

“The stewards have all the information, the telemetry. Sometimes they put some penalties, sometimes they don’t. It was always like that.

“It’s the same with race incidents – some manoeuvres like [Max] Verstappen’s, sometimes there are penalties, sometimes not.

“It’s a little bit inconsistent, but I don’t see any difference in this Nico pole position than in the last 16 years of F1.”

Asked whether he felt that Rosberg failed to take full account of the potential danger of the situation, Alonso added: “If Nico showed the telemetry to the stewards and he lifted enough…

“In football, we can explain to the referee that it’s not a penalty, because they didn’t touch [the ball] with their hands. But they have more information, they have everything.

“Also Sebastian overtook Jean-Eric Vergne in 2012 with all the yellows flashing in Brazil. He was world champion.”

Verstappen: Drying track blurs the line

Max Verstappen said that the Hungary case wasn’t as clear cut as it may have appeared, due to the fact the track was still drying out in Q3 after earlier rain.

“I think in general Budapest was a bit of a weird situation because the track was drying and you know you are going to get faster every lap that you do,” said the Dutchman.

“When the track is drying, even when you lift a bit, you are still improving.

“But then the problem is that everybody backed off and only one driver kept pushing, sets a purple sector and gets pole position, and they don't delete the lap time... it is a bit on the limit or a little bit over.

“Now [drivers] think: double yellow, we just lift a bit, lose momentum, maybe one tenth, still improve our lap time, and then it gets dangerous as you don't know what is happening around the corner.

“There could be a car on the track, maybe a marshal on the track – then it gets a bit more dangerous.”

Hamilton: Rules now interpreted differently

Quizzed on the situation in Germany, Hamilton said he expects all drivers to only lift a small amount for double waved yellows from now on, unless they are told otherwise in the drivers’ briefing on Friday.

“As I said in the last race, the precedent has been set, and currently we are all allowed to do a purple sector when a double yellow flag is on the track,” said the reigning champion.

“This weekend, all we have to do is a small lift and lose a tenth of a second.

“The rules have never been adjusted in terms of how they are written since I was eight years old. It’s just there they seemed to be interpreted differently."

However, Alonso said he believed no precedent had been set by Hungary.

“I will drive the same way, when there is yellow flag I will lift off,” he said. “And when there are yellow flags Nico will lift off.

“Or maybe he will go flat out now, I don’t know, if for him it changes something! But not for us.”

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble and Adam Cooper

Don’t miss our German GP video preview…

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