Yuki Tsunoda has described the 5s penalty which dropped him to 12th as “ridiculous” and “very harsh”.
The AlphaTauri driver was given the penalty and 1 penalty point, for forcing Guanyu Zhou off track as they battled for ninth in the closing stages of the race.
As far as the stewards were concerned Zhou was “in front at and after the apex of Turn 1 and hence under the Driving Standards Guidelines and was therefore entitled to racing room. However, Tsunoda moved across to the outside of the corner, forcing the Alfa Romeo off the track”.
On-board footage subsequently showed that Tsunoda made no deliberate attempt to force his rival wide, instead the car was clearly ‘drifting’ despite the youngster’s best efforts, however it was clear that momentarily Zhou was ahead of the AlphaTauri.
At race end, Tsunoda reacted to the penalty with his usual calm and understanding.
“It was a ridiculous penalty, and it feels really unfair,” he said. “I left him room, and I feel like he just gave it up in the early stages and he pretended he got forced out.
“There was definitely still space outside there,” he insisted. “Obviously, I applied pressure but there was still space so I don’t understand why I got a penalty. It’s very harsh.
“My race pace was really good,” he added. “I gave it my all, literally everything, but I lost my points in the end, so very disappointed.
“I didn’t hear about it until after the chequered flag,” he revealed. “I was really happy but then disappointed.”
The Japanese was also miffed by the fact that the stewards reached their decision without his input.
“It’s good to have a bit of a discussion with the FIA but they gave me five seconds without discussion, and the race is over.”
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