George Russell feels that the F1 stewards had no choice but to penalise Fernando Alonso for his tactics at the Australian Grand Prix.

Alonso was handed a post-race 20-second time penalty (converted from a drive through penalty) for “potentially dangerous driving”.

The Aston Martin had slowed down significantly on the exit of Turn 6, catching Russell off guard.

Russell lost control of his Mercedes in the turbulent wake of Alonso’s car, crashing out of the race in the process.

Alonso’s penalty was debated heavily among fans, particularly as Russell didn’t actually crash with the Spaniard nor technically take evasive action.

Speaking in the FIA press conference at the Japanese Grand Prix, Russell explained why the stewards had to set a precedent.

“I think it was a bit of a strange situation that happened last week [in Australia]. As I said at the time, I was totally caught by surprise,” he said. “I was actually looking at the steering wheel, making a switch change in the straight which we all do across the lap. When I looked up, I was in Fernando’s gearbox and it was too late.

“The next thing I know is that I am in the wall. I think if it were not to be penalised it would have opened a can of worms for the rest of the season and in junior categories of saying are you allowed to brake in a straight?

“Are you allowed to slow down, change gear, do something semi-erratic? I don’t take anything personally with what happened with Fernando. It probably had bigger consequences than it should have. As I said, if it went un-penalised can you just brake in the middle of a straight?”

Australian GP race winner Carlos Sainz called for the right-hander Russell crashed at to be “reviewed” amid safety concerns.

“I just think apart from all that, that corner needs to be reviewed,” he added. “It’s already something I said in the last driver’s briefing. It’s not the first time a car crashes and comes back onto the track.

“It’s a corner we’re doing 250 kph and flying. I just don’t like the last few incidents we’ve seen, also in other categories. It doesn’t give me a good feeling. It’s a great corner don’t get me wrong.

“I love driving it in a qualifying lap but it’s just when it comes to racing. There’s been too many examples of a car coming back onto the track, being very narrow there, it’s a corner that needs to be a bit reviewed.”