Hill does not defend his compatriot: ‘Gray area between racing and cowardly tricks’

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Hill does not defend his compatriot: 'Gray area between racing and cowardly tricks'

Damon Hill won the first Grand Prix in Melbourne in 1996, and was back at the Albert Park Street Circuit last weekend, 28 years later, as an analyst on the F1 Nation podcast. There, the 1996 world champion discussed, among other things, George Russell’s accident at the end of the race and the role played by Fernando Alonso.

Russell and Alonso battled for sixth position as Alonso gave a brake test to his younger competitor. The Mercedes driver parked his W15 in the wall, after which Alonso received a twenty-second penalty, plus three penalty points on his Formula 1 driver’s license. Afterwards there was a lot of fuss about the experienced Spaniard’s punishment, as Russell mainly dropped out due to his own mistake.

Cowardly tricks or part of racing?

When asked, Hill gave his views on the incident. ‘George (Russell, ed.) was surprised by it. I think he was surprised by how quickly he suddenly caught up with Fernando (Alonso, ed.). He got too close to Alonso, and then suffered from understeer, because he was almost under his rear wing.’ Russell ultimately ended up with a damaged W15 on the asphalt, after which the race was ended under Virtual Safety Car.

“Now we are entering the gray area of ​​what is still part of racing, and what are simply cowardly tricks,” continues the British analyst, who sees two sides to the story. ‘I assume that the FIA ​​wants to prevent people from doing dangerous things. On the other hand: motorsport is dangerous and you have to be careful if you want to overtake.’

Ultimately, Hill is of the opinion that Alonso did not cross the line and that those games are part of racing. ‘You have to be prepared for them to play the game too. This is part of the sport: you have to be afraid of a smart opponent. The idea that you want to prevent people from doing something unexpected is not really part of racing,” is Hill’s criticism of the race management’s actions.

Russell under pressure

Sam Power, who works for the Australian Channel 10, also contributes: ‘I wonder what it does to George to take over the role of team leader at Mercedes. He crashes at the end of the races. That is precisely the moment when you have to get the points across. Is this a result of the pressure of his position? Maybe he’s trying to get too much out of it, while making do with what he has.”

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