The incident occurred in the early stages of Q1 when a driver ahead of him lost control of his car.
Alonso passed the yellow flag zone and went onto set his lap – something that contradicts the race director’s guidelines ahead of the weekend as drivers are now meant to abandon their laps entirely.
Due to how slow this lap was, Alonso was cleared of any wrongdoing by the stewards and will be allowed to start Sunday’s race from fifth on the grid, moving up one place thanks to Lewis Hamilton‘s penalty after an engine change.
A statement from the stewards read: “It was evident that the driver fulfilled the requirement of reducing speed significantly after the double yellow flags were displayed and therefore complied with the provisions set out in Art. 2.5.5.b) of the FIA International Sporting Code.
“Nonetheless, Note 7.1 of the Race Director’s Event Notes require drivers not to set a meaningful lap time in a double yellow flag situation. Taking into account the fact that the yellow flag situation occurred at the time the driver started his first timed lap of the session and noting that the driver was fully convinced that he did not set a meaningful lap time as his next flying lap was approximately 3.5 seconds faster than the one when the yellow flag situation occurred, the Stewards are satisfied that the driver complied with the relevant regulations and take no further action.”
Speaking after the session, Alonso was delighted with his best qualifying result of the season so far.
“The truth is that I am very happy,” Alonso said. “It was probably the best Saturday of the year. We came from the best race in terms of competitiveness in Sochi and now I felt good as well. Always in the almost wet conditions we were fourth, fifth, sixth, and now in Q3 as well, when normally we drop to ninth or so. With Hamilton’s penalty we will start fifth, on the clean side, and with the mediums tyres we qualified with in Q2, so it’s been a good Saturday. Let’s see how we finish the job tomorrow.”
Remarkably, Alonso has scored points in nine of the last 10 races in 2021, allowing Alpine to sit comfortably in fifth-place in the constructors’ championship.