The Aston Martin driver dropped from sixth to eighth in the final results after being given a 20-second penalty for the way he aggressively defended against George Russell in the closing stages in Melbourne.

Russell lost control of his Mercedes in the dirty air of Alonso’s car, causing him to slide off the track at Turn 6 and slam into the barriers on the penultimate lap.

The topic of Alonso’s punishment proved to be a major talking point in the Suzuka paddock ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

For the penalty

George Russell:

“Obviously a bit of a strange situation that happened last week. Totally caught by surprise. I was actually looking at the steering wheel, making a switch change in the straight, which, you know, we all do across the lap. And when I looked up, I was in Fernando’s gearbox and it was sort of too late. And then next thing I know I’m in the wall.

“So I think, if it were not to have been penalised, it would have really opened the kind of worms for the rest of the season – and in junior categories – of saying, you know, are you allowed to break in a straight? Are you allowed to slow down, change gear, accelerate, do something semi-erratic? I don’t take anything personally with what happened with Fernando. And it probably had bigger consequences than it should have.

“If it went unpenalised, can you just break in the middle of a straight? I don’t know.”

Lewis Hamilton:

“If I try to put myself in Fernando’s position I can’t understand the manoeuvre, but I’m just glad that George is safe.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 4, Japanese Grand Prix,

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the FIA Press Conference. Formula…

Charles Leclerc:

“It’s something that we do as drivers, however not to that extent. What Fernando did in Australia was too much and had to be penalised. However, I believe that there is something that we need to look into in terms of the penalty. If you are in a position like Fernando was, you only lose two places.

“I’ve always thought that position penalties are more fair because whatever the race situation you are, you are penalised like you are intended to be penalised. However with time penalties, there can be inconsistencies depending on race situation.”

Sergio Perez:

“My take is that it was definitely a bit too much over the limit, a bit unnecessary but my biggest fear is that we might see this incident again next weekend and nothing will happen. We’ve been struggling a lot to keep the consistency in penalties.

“If incidents like this are going to be penalised, then they have to be penalised every single weekend.”

Nico Hulkenberg:

“I wasn’t very impressed with Fernando’s tactics there. Melbourne is kind of a street circuit, it’s quite narrow there, we approach that corner with 260-270km/h [161-168mph], it’s a blind exit and if, for whatever reason, the flag system or someone is late and one of us would have T-boned George…

“So while that tactic is quite a common one in Formula 1, in that particular corner, with that speed, with a blind exit, I think it’s the wrong corner to do it and produced quite a dangerous situation.”

Against the penalty

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia,

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian…

Lando Norris:

“It shouldn’t be a penalty. What Fernando did was odd. Like, so extreme. But I don’t think it’s even close to be regarded as a brake test. Did he brake and downshift? I don’t know the exact things of it. But should it be a penalty in any way? No. George, in my opinion, should have seen it coming. George had time to see what was going on, you know?

“I’m sure it’s always tougher being in the situation, that’s why I don’t like commenting on it. This was not a brake test. This was just trying to play very smart, Fernando being Fernando. Yeah. And kind of being caught out about it.

“It was not aggressive, it was not like one meter in front of a car stopping. It was like 100 meters ahead, slowed down and just the approaching speed caught George off. Nowhere near should that have been a penalty, I would say.”

Lance Stroll:

“I thought it was ridiculous, to be honest. I don’t think he did anything stupid, he was just preparing the exit of the corner. To get a drive-through penalty for an incident that doesn’t even involve any contact between the cars or anything like that, I didn’t really understand it.

“I just think a penalty in general was kind of a joke. Where do you draw that line between driving unnecessarily slowly and just being like, tactical?”

Oscar Piastri questioned “giving someone a penalty for causing dirty air” and said he was “a bit surprised by the penalty”, while Valtteri Bottas described it as “a bit harsh”.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen was among those who stopped short of committing an opinion but confirmed the matter will be discussed in the driver’s briefing.