Alonso scores first point of F1 comeback after post-race penalty drops Raikkonen out of top 10
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen has been demoted from ninth and out of the points having received a 30-second time penalty for an infringement during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, promoting Fernando Alonso to P10, who scores the first point of his F1 comeback.
A huge collision between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell on Lap 34 brought out a red flag, after which a rolling restart resumed the race on Lap 35.
However, running P7 Raikkonen spun at Turn 3 on the warm-up lap behind the Safety Car before the restart, dropping to P10. He then rejoined the order in P8, but according to the rules he should have driven through the pit lane, if he was not able to get back to his previous position in the order before the first Safety Car line. Because he failed to do so, he was hit with a 30 second penalty after the race, which dropped him to P13.
“On the lap before the re-start following the race suspension, Raikkonen spun at Turn 3. The driver may retake his position, so long as he does so prior to the first Safety Car line (SC1). At first the team instructed him to do so, but then told him to hold his position,” the Stewards’ post-race ruling said.
“Should a driver fail to take his position he must enter the pit lane and can only re-join the race once the whole field has passed the pit exit.”
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The Stewards found that Raikkonen caught up to the cars ahead of him between Turns 13-14, but the Safety Car had already turned its lights off. Therefore, the Alfa Romeo driver left it too late to regain his position on the restart.
“This would appear to be a contradictory instruction and the team instructed the driver to not regain his position, fearing that this would create a safety issue in the wet conditions. They radioed the Race Director, but there was no time for a response between their call and the restart,” continued the Stewards.
“The Stewards consider it to be a further contradiction that when the cars are behind the Safety Car during a Safety Car period, the are prohibited from passing, but when they are behind the Safety Car for a restart, they are permitted to – even though the reasons for a rolling start are that the track conditions don’t permit a standing start.
"However, the rule requiring a car to enter the pit lane if it fails to regain its position is consistent amongst several championships, has been in the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations for several years and has been consistently applied,” they added.
“The penalty is a mandatory penalty, and therefore the Stewards consider that they have no alternative than to apply this penalty for reasons of consistency,” they concluded.
Had the penalty been applied during the race, Raikkonen would have received a 10-second stop-go penalty. As it was applied post-race, the Finn received a 30-second penalty and was therefore demoted out of his P9 points-paying place.
As a result, Esteban Ocon has been classified ninth and Alpine team mate Fernando Alonso 10th, giving the team a double-points haul from Imola and the two-time champion a first point on his return to F1.