SEPANG, April 11, 2011 (AFP) - Two time world champion Fernando Alonso and 2008 winner Lewis Hamilton both accepted punishments after being hit with 20-second penalties following Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
The pair were given time penalties instead of drive-through penalties for breaching the rules during a battle for third place in the closing stages of the race won by defending champion Sebastian Vettel.
The punishment pushed Hamilton down from seventh to eighth place. The McLaren driver breached rules outlawing 'manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as more than one change of direction to defend a position,' while Alonso, who had been pursuing the Briton, was punished for causing a collision. "I knew I was going to get a penalty. I'm not surprised," Hamilton said.
"I was in with the stewards, so I anticipated it. I always try to assume the worst-case scenario. "It's only one spot and it's not really made me feel any worse than how the weekend has gone anyway."
Asked if he felt it was fair, Hamilton said: "I'm not going to argue or disagree with the penalty. From my side I'm not allowed to move more than once. Do I class it as dangerous? No, but that's the rule." Alonso also played down the significance of the punishment -- especially as his penalty did not result in a loss of position. "It doesn't change positions, so there is no a big drama," the Ferrari ace said.
"I finished sixth in the race anyway, and it was a race incident. I tried to overtake, we touched each other and unfortunately I broke the front wing and had to pit again. "I lost the podium possibility, but in the next race I will try again. It was one of those things. You try and race -- and we touched each other." On his sixth-placed finish Alonso said: "I am happy -- not with the result, but because we were finally competitive -- capable of fighting wheel to wheel for a place on the podium.
"We were not lucky -- if the moveable rear wing had worked all the time, I could easily have passed Hamilton down the straight, but instead we had to fight hard. He defended very well and, unfortunately, we touched."