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Alonso loses podium due to post-race sanction

Fernando Alonso has been robbed of what would have been his 100th Formula One podium finish after a post-race penalty at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The decision moved George Russell up to third, giving Mercedes its first podium finish of the year.

Alonso had served a five-second penalty before his first pit stop, a penalty for lining up outside his grid area at the start.

In the closing stages, Mercedes told the pursuing Russell that Alonso could be given a penalty, with suspicions growing that the Aston Martin pit crew had touched the car before it had been stationary for five seconds.

Alonso still finished third and celebrated on the podium.

Shortly after he had received his trophy, the stewards’ inquiry was upheld, with the 10-second penalty soon after moving Russell to third.

Lewis Hamilton finished 10.3sec behind Alonso in the race, meaning the Aston Martin driver narrowly avoided losing two positions.

The decision is consistent with the penalty that Esteban Ocon received for failing to correctly serve a penalty during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The penalty cost Aston Martin the chance to secure a first consecutive F1 podium finish, with Alonso also finishing third in Bahrain.

The Red Bull duo swapped positions from that opening race, with Sergio Perez beating teammate Max Verstappen, who started 15th, to take victory.