Fernando Alonso drops to ninth with penalty at Canadian GP

MONTREAL - Fernando Alonso's frustrating Canadian Grand Prix got worse after the race had finished when a penalty dropped him to ninth on Sunday evening.

Alonso had started alongside Max Verstappen on the front row but faded over the course of the race and crossed the line in seventh, behind teammate Esteban Ocon.

On the final lap he was weaving to defend against Valtteri Bottas and the stewards soon investigated him for making too many changes of direction in a straight line, something considered dangerous at high speed.

The stewards found Alonso had done this and later issued him a five-second penalty, which dropped him behind Bottas and the Finnish driver's rookie teammate Guanyu Zhou.

The verdict said: "Between turns 10 and 12, on the penultimate lap of the race, car 14 made repeated changes of direction to defend against car 77 who had to lift at one point and briefly lost momentum.

"Whilst noting the driver's point that at no stage was any point of car 77 alongside car 14, the Stewards consider this to be a clear breach of the above regulation. The Stewards therefore impose a 5 seconds time penalty in line with that imposed for a similar incident in Australia 2022."

Alonso was already in a frustrated mood after the race.

Before his battle with Bottas, he had been unhappy to hear an Alpine radio message instructing him not to overtake Ocon in the closing stages.

Alonso replied that he had been "800 times" faster than Ocon across the weekend.

The Spaniard, a two time world champion, said he would have been battling Lewis Hamilton for the final spot on the podium and was at pains to point out he had a car issue.

When asked where the weekend got away from him, Alonso said: "The engine, that was the only answer.

"We had an engine problem on lap 20 where we cut the energy very early on the straights, as soon as we exited the corners. We tried to fix it but it didn't work. Luckily we didn't retire the car and we still score a few points, but until that point I think we were fighting for the podium at the beginning of the race. I

"I felt strong compared to Hamilton, we just didn't have the pace of Verstappen and Sainz. I was OK to control Hamilton in the Mercedes."