Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Suzuka, 2024

Russell calls Alonso’s DRS tactics with Piastri a “smart move”

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

George Russell had no complaints about Fernando Alonso’s tactical slowing in the Japanese Grand Prix following the clash between the pair two weeks ago.

Alonso was given a drive-through penalty after the Australian Grand Prix for suddenly slowing in front of Russell on the penultimate lap of the race, leading to the Mercedes driver crashing out.

Over the final stages of today’s race Alonso again appeared to deliberately reduce his speed while running ahead of Russell while the pair were separated by Oscar Piastri’s McLaren. However Alonso did so much more gradually, in order to allow the McLaren driver to use his DRS and increase his chances of keeping Russell behind him, and thereby help protect Alonso.

“It was smart from Fernando and I expected nothing less,” Russell told Sky afterwards. “That’s part of racing.”

Despite Alonso’s assistance, Piastri was unable to keep his position. He ran wide at the chicane on the penultimate lap and Russell overtook him.

The McLaren driver said he immediately understood what Alonso was doing when he gained on the Aston Martin. “I could tell by the way he was using the energy,” said Piastri. “I could tell he was trying to keep me in his DRS so George didn’t pass me and attack him.

“So I knew exactly what he was doing. But I just made a bit of a mistake into the last chicane, locked up a bit, and that was it.”

However Alonso, who strongly criticised his Australian Grand Prix penalty, did not confirm whether he had slowed down on purpose. “[With] Oscar, maybe he was not having the top speed to really attack me,” he said.

Russell ran out of time to catch Alonso after passing Piastri and finished 1.6 seconds behind his rival.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2024 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Japanese Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

10 comments on “Russell calls Alonso’s DRS tactics with Piastri a “smart move””

  1. Maybe Alonso was referring to Piastri’s earlier attack, as he spent the whole of the last stint a second off Alonso and never managed to attack him properly.

    1. he could have made a daft move in to the back of Alonso and claimed brake testing, and gotten Alonso pushed out of the points.

      1. I assume this was a witicism. Though it would be a whole lot funnier if in the event you are comparing Russell had actually claimed brake testing.

  2. Perfect example of legit smart defense vs dangerous erratic driving in Australia.

  3. LOL That is the 2nd time this tactic was used against Russell.

    1. At least this time Russel didn’t misjudge a move on the McLaren ahead so much as to crash though!

  4. I would love to see a Verstappen Alonso pairing.
    It might not be wise but what a show that would give every racing week.
    Russel and Hamilton are a bit of an unknown ATM. So Alonso might be the second best driver in the current field.

  5. That’s how it’s done Fernando

  6. Coventry Climax
    8th April 2024, 10:32

    “It was smart from Fernando and I expected nothing less,” Russell told Sky afterwards. “That’s part of racing.”

    The being smart is, alright, but the tactics certainly is not. That’s part of racing with DRS. Huge difference.

  7. Russell’s race engineer joked that “Alonso seemed to be having throttle problems again” on the radio after the race, which made Russell chuckle.

Comments are closed.