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Alonso reflects on ‘crazy race’ in China after nearly crashing while Stroll gives his take on penalty for ‘weird’ incident

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SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team and Lance Stroll of

It was an eventful race at the Chinese Grand Prix for the Aston Martin team, with Fernando Alonso working his way back through the field to P7 after slipping down the order from P2 on the opening lap, while Lance Stroll was hit with a penalty following an unusual incident with Daniel Ricciardo.

Alonso had looked keen to make up for the disappointment of retiring from Saturday’s Sprint race as Sunday’s 56-lap encounter got underway, as the Spaniard made a move around the outside of Sergio Perez into Turn 1 to take second place.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to victory over Norris and Perez in action-packed Chinese GP

However, he lost the position within a few laps and fell backwards during the race, which featured a Virtual Safety Car followed by two full Safety Car phases at the midway point.

After making a late pit stop – and almost losing the car in the final corner – Alonso climbed back into the points to eventually cross the line in seventh place, as well as snatching an extra point for fastest lap.

Asked for his thoughts on what had been a ‘crazy race’ for him, Alonso agreed: “Yeah, definitely, [a] crazy race. [There were] a lot of things happening for us in the race.

“[I had a] great start, P2 the first couple of laps, then a few Safety Cars that probably didn’t help our strategy and made us save the tyres a little bit and last until the end. We had to make another stop, so that was not ideal. At the end [I] nearly crashed, but then fastest lap and P7, so all in all I think a good weekend.”

Alonso admits he ‘nearly crashed’ in ‘crazy race’ in Shanghai

Alonso ran the soft tyres during his middle stint of the race – in contrast to many of his rivals who opted for the hard or medium compound – and explained later that this was necessary after running out of hard tyres.

“We only had one [set of] hard tyres and in the middle of the hard stint the Safety Car came, so our good race tyre was gone in a way after that Safety Car,” the two-time world champion said.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the Chinese Grand Prix as Verstappen takes victory while Safety Car sparks dramatic restart

“We didn’t have any more options, so yeah, let’s see. Maybe next time we don’t race the Sprint we save tyres and we have more race for Sunday, like this we don’t have even a strange penalty.”

Stroll, meanwhile, had looked to potentially be in the battle for points after starting the race from P11 on the grid, but fell backwards in the order following a collision with Ricciardo as the field readied themselves for the restart following the first Safety Car period.

When Alonso locked up on the approach to the hairpin, a concertina effect occurred where the drivers behind had to brake to avoid the car in front. Stroll, though, did not slow down in time and crashed into the back of Ricciardo’s RB, with the damage significant enough to put the Australian out of the race.

‘I don’t understand it’ – Stroll unhappy with penalty for Ricciardo collision

Quizzed afterwards on what had happened from his perspective, Stroll commented: “I think it was a concertina effect in the hairpin. Someone braked in front and then I think it was like everyone kind of braked. The car in front of me just stopped right in front of me, I had nowhere to go and, yeah, it was just one of those really weird racing incidents.”

The stewards deemed Stroll to be at fault and handed him a 10-second penalty for the incident. On whether he would question the punishment, the Canadian responded: “I don’t understand it.

EXPLAINED: Why Ricciardo, Stroll, Sargeant and Magnussen were all penalised in China

"It was just one of those concertina effect racing incidents, which I guess because I was the one that hit the guy in front of me that I got the penalty, but I think someone caused that in front of him. Someone hit the brakes and, yeah, it’s a weird one.”

Despite the collision – and the fact that he ultimately ended the race down in P15 – Stroll still enjoyed the Grand Prix, having pulled off some overtakes into Turn 6.

“It was a fun race,” he added. “Shame because we were on for eighth or ninth, so a couple of points missed out today.”

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