He ruined the race: Alonso unhappy as Hamilton escapes penalty in sprint race

Lewis Hamilton escaped a penalty in Saturday’s sprint race in Miami “because he is not Spanish”, Fernando Alonso has claimed.

Alonso accused Hamilton of “arriving like a bull” and subsequently said he “ruined” other drivers’ races after they collided at the opening corner at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Alonso suffered a puncture following the coming together. His Aston Martin team-mate Lance Stroll and British driver Lando Norris retired with damage after they, too, were caught up in the four-car tangle.

The stewards noted the incident, but took no action. Hamilton finished eighth but was later demoted to 16th when he was hit with a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit-lane.

“Lewis was on the inside, a little bit out of control, but I guess they won’t decide anything, because he is not Spanish,” said Alonso, 43.

“But he ruined the race for a few people, especially Norris, who had a very fast car and he was out in that incident.”

Max Verstappen controlled the 19-lap dash – which took place prior to qualifying for Sunday’s main event – to claim a dominant win.

But the action unfolded behind Red Bull’s Verstappen – who extended his championship lead over third-placed Sergio Perez from 25 points to 27 – with Hamilton taking centre stage.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in eighth but was hit with a post-race penalty (Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

The seven-time world champion enjoyed a strong getaway from 12th before he slung his Mercedes down the inside of an unsuspecting Alonso, four places ahead of him on the grid.

Hamilton bumped into Alonso’s Aston Martin, who then collided with Stroll. Norris was minding his own business on the outside of the opening right-hander only for Stroll – sent out of control by Alonso – to hit the British driver’s McLaren.

“Whoa,” said Alonso over the radio as he limped back to the pits with a puncture. “Hamilton arrived like a bull.”

Hamilton, who escaped damage, was on the intercom too. “There was a gap on the inside so I went for it,” he said, protesting his innocence.

It marked the second collision in less than two years between the former McLaren team-mates. Alonso called Hamilton an idiot and said he could only race from the front following a collision in Belgium in 2022. Alonso later apologised for the comments.

After he was let off the hook, Hamilton was allowed to continue in ninth and endured a race-long ding-dong with Kevin Magnussen.

The Dane, protecting Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in seventh, was not prepared to let Hamilton ahead, and used all of his machinery, and then some, to prevent the Briton from swooping by.

The stewards took a dim view of Magnussen’s aggressive defence and hit him with a combined 20-second penalty, but the fight continued.

“He just drove into me,” said Hamilton. On lap 15, he then accused Magnussen of pushing him off the track at the chicane allowing RB’s Yuki Tsunoda to make his way ahead of both men.

A lap later, Tsunoda and Hamilton cleared Magnussen, and Hamilton then found a way past the Japanese driver which looked to have earned him the final point.

But the Mercedes driver was penalised for exceeding the pit-lane limit by 6.6mph, and he was punished with an elapsed 20-second penalty dropping him way down the order.

“It was a little bit on the edge in some places,” said Hamilton of his duel with Magnussen, who was later summoned to the stewards on the charge of “unsportsmanlike behaviour”. “But that’s what I love, I love racing hard.”

Charles Leclerc split the Red Bull drivers to finish second, while Daniel Ricciardo started and finished fourth following a fine performance by the RB driver. George Russell crossed the line in 12th as Mercedes failed to trouble the scoreboard.