Alpine have won their appeal against a penalty imposed on Fernando Alonso following the United States Grand Prix, meaning his points for a seventh-place finish have been restored.

A dramatic race for the Spaniard involved his car sustaining significant damage after a collision with Lance Stroll  saw the Alpine rear up and hit roadside barriers, forcing him to pit for repairs.

The Haas team launched a protest after Alonso lost his right-hand mirror late in the race, and a 30-second punishment saw him fall to 15th place in the race standings.

The post-race complaint from Haas came, according to Alpine, some 24 minutes after the deadline for making such claims.

Now Alpine have succeeded in getting the penalty overturned by governing body the FIA, with two-time champion Alonso recovering the six points he achieved in Austin.

Ahead of this weekend's Mexico City Grand Prix, Alpine said in a statement: "BWT Alpine F1 Team thanks the FIA stewards for convening and reaching a positive conclusion on the matter involving car #14 from last weekend's United States Grand Prix.

"The team welcomes the decision made by the aforementioned stewards, whereby car #14 reinstates its seventh-place finish and six points from the race. We look forward to continuing our collaborative work alongside the FIA to ensure the racing spectacle is maintained to the highest quality. The team now looks forward to competing this weekend at the Mexico City Grand Prix."

Alonso sits ninth in this year's drivers' standings, one place behind team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Before the FIA appeal result was known, Alonso said on Thursday: "It was a rollercoaster of emotions for me on Sunday: I started at the back, then we were like P6, we had the accident; last again; and then finishing P7, and then in the evening, again out of the points. So it was up and down all day long."

Pierre Gasly is heading to Alpine next season to begin a new multi-year contract after being granted an early release from his 2023 commitment to current team AlphaTauri.

Gasly, 26, has one win on his resume back at the Italian Grand Prix in 2020, and tallied 185 points across the 2020 and 2021 seasons before taking a small step back this year with AlphaTauri struggling.

The Frenchman is currently 13th in the point standings this season – four spots ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda – and he will join his fellow countryman Esteban Ocon in a much more competitive Alpine car.

In a statement after the announcement on Friday, Gasly spoke of his excitement at the new opportunity and thanked Red Bull after a nine-year relationship came to an end.

"I am delighted to join the Alpine family and begin this new chapter in my Formula 1 career," he said.

"Driving for a team that has French roots is something very special. I know the strengths of Alpine having raced against them over the past couple of years and, clearly, their progress and ambition is very impressive.

"I wish to thank Red Bull as this marks the end of our nine-year journey together. It is thanks to their trust and support that I became a Formula 1 driver, and what we’ve achieved with Scuderia AlphaTauri over the last years has been very special.

"Looking ahead, I want to give the maximum and utilise all my experience to fight for podiums and ultimately contribute to Alpine’s fight for championships in the future."

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer called Gasly "a proven talent" and said he believes he is the right man to help lead a new era for the brand.

"I’m very happy that Pierre will be joining the team for 2023 and beyond," he said.

"He is already a proven talent within Formula 1, and we are looking forward to harnessing that within the team. Our team has several objectives for the coming seasons and I firmly believe our driver line-up is a great reflection of the team’s high ambitions.

"I trust Pierre and Esteban can, together, motivate the team to continue its progress towards these goals. We would also like to thank Red Bull for agreeing the terms to allow Pierre to take this step."

CEO Luca de Meo of the Renault Group, who own the Alpine team added that it is a big moment for a French team to secure the services of two of France's top drivers.

"We are proud to present an all-French driver line-up from 2023," he said. "Our roots are in France, and Alpine was born in Normandy, so this is a serendipity of sorts. 

"Both will drive the team and the group forward and, I hope, we can become a symbol of pride for France."

Pierre Gasly is heading to Alpine next season to begin a new three-year contract after being granted an early release from his 2023 commitment to current team AlphaTauri.

Gasly, 26, has one win on his resume back at the Italian Grand Prix in 2020, and tallied 185 points across the 2020 and 2021 seasons before taking a small step back this year with AlphaTauri struggling.

The Frenchman is currently 13th in the point standings this season – four spots ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda – and he will join his fellow countryman Esteban Ocon in a much more competitive Alpine car.

In a statement after the announcement on Friday, Gasly spoke of his excitement at the new opportunity and thanked Red Bull after a nine-year relationship came to an end.

"I am delighted to join the Alpine family and begin this new chapter in my Formula 1 career," he said.

"Driving for a team that has French roots is something very special. I know the strengths of Alpine having raced against them over the past couple of years and, clearly, their progress and ambition is very impressive.

"I wish to thank Red Bull as this marks the end of our nine-year journey together. It is thanks to their trust and support that I became a Formula 1 driver, and what we’ve achieved with Scuderia AlphaTauri over the last years has been very special.

"Looking ahead, I want to give the maximum and utilise all my experience to fight for podiums and ultimately contribute to Alpine’s fight for championships in the future."

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer called Gasly "a proven talent" and said he believes he is the right man to help lead a new era for the brand.

"I’m very happy that Pierre will be joining the team for 2023 and beyond," he said.

"He is already a proven talent within Formula 1, and we are looking forward to harnessing that within the team. Our team has several objectives for the coming seasons and I firmly believe our driver line-up is a great reflection of the team’s high ambitions.

"I trust Pierre and Esteban can, together, motivate the team to continue its progress towards these goals. We would also like to thank Red Bull for agreeing the terms to allow Pierre to take this step."

CEO Luca de Meo of the Renault Group, who own the Alpine team added that it is a big moment for a French team to secure the services of two of France's top drivers.

"We are proud to present an all-French driver line-up from 2023," he said. "Our roots are in France, and Alpine was born in Normandy, so this is a serendipity of sorts. 

"Both will drive the team and the group forward and, I hope, we can become a symbol of pride for France."

Victory and the fastest lap for Max Verstappen in Japan on Sunday will seal the Formula One title for the Red Bull ace and continue a record in the land of the rising sun.

The Japanese Grand Prix has been the venue where championship winners have been crowned the most, happening on 12 occasions – the last of which was Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull in 2011.

Verstappen, who will also win the title if Charles Leclerc finishes third or lower and team-mate Sergio Perez finishes second or lower without the fastest lap, can clinch the title with four races to spare – only Michael Schumacher in 2002 (6) and Nigel Mansell in 1995 (5) have been crowned champion sooner in the season.

A further honour also awaits Verstappen in Japan, where a win would be the 23rd different venue where he has topped the podium, surpassing Schumacher (22) and behind only Lewis Hamilton (31).

Regardless of Verstappen's exploits in Japan, the title is a near certainty to be heading his way and it would require a remarkable sequence of events for the situation to change.

The budget cap situation is the biggest threat, with the FIA set to announce results for the 2021 season on Wednesday, although any outcome is unlikely to be final and arguments are expected to rumble on within the paddock.

Leclerc's pole problem

Charles Leclerc has taken pole position and failed to win the race on seven occasions in 2022, the most recent coming in Singapore last weekend where Sergio Perez won ahead of the Ferrari driver.

Another pole without a win in 2022 would equal the highest tally in a single season, set by Mika Hakkinen in 1999 and Nico Rosberg in 2014.

Alonso waits for record

Fernando Alonso set the record for most Grand Prix stats in F1 last weekend (350) but is still waiting to take the record for the most F1 finishes – missing the opportunity to set the record in the last two races.

Alonso is tied with Kimi Raikkonen for the most races finished (378) and has suffered back-to-back DNF's in Italy and Singapore, with Lewis Hamilton (276 finishes) now threatening to leapfrog him if that trend continues.

Fernando Alonso says he has lost "about 60" points due to mechanical issues across the Formula One season, describing Alpine's problems as "unacceptable" after retiring from the Singapore Grand Prix.

Alpine suffered their first double retirement of the 2022 campaign on Sunday, as suspected power unit issues ended the races of Alonso and team-mate Esteban Ocon.

Alonso was defending sixth place against the advances of Max Verstappen when the problem first struck, forcing him out of the race after 21 laps. Ocon, meanwhile, followed six laps later.

The issue overshadowed a landmark day for Alonso, who made a record 351st grand prix start, and the Spaniard made his frustration known after the race.

"Again eight or 10 points are gone and there were already about 50 points lost this year," Alonso said. "So there are already about 60, which is unacceptable.

"I am very upset because there had been a good performance in this race on my part throughout the weekend.

"Yes, it was the two [Alpine] cars, but one was behind and out of the points, and it was not as serious as in my case for the points.

"This year, this changes everything. If you gave me 60 more points in the standings and reduced those of the rest – because they are points that the others would not have added – my championship would seem much better, even compared to Mercedes."

Alonso has retired from four of his 17 races in 2022, including back-to-back outings at Monza and Singapore. 

The two-time world champion, who is set to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin next year, sits ninth in the drivers' championship standings, seven points behind team-mate Ocon.

Fernando Alonso will make a record 351st start when he competes in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix – and his first Formula One boss believes there are many more to come.

Gian Carlo Minardi was managing director of the Minardi team when a young Alonso made his F1 debut in 2001, on the road to becoming a double world champion.

Those titles came in 2005 and 2006 at Renault, whom Alonso joined after only one year with Minardi, and he has missed only two seasons since, sitting out 2019 and 2020 when scratching an itch to compete in other motorsport events.

This weekend he will beat a record previously held by Kimi Raikkonen, who contested 350 grands prix, with Alonso competing for Alpine ahead of an end-of-season switch to Aston Martin.

Minardi told Stats Perform he is confident the 41-year-old Alonso will remain a strong presence on the grid for years to come.

"I recently met him in Monza, and he was very excited," Minardi said. "I would say he doesn't look 41 from an athletic point of view, so I guess he is very fit and keen to prove who he is, and with his new contract he will beat other records not easily reachable for other drivers."

Alonso can also beat the record of the most F1 races finished this weekend, another mark he shares with Raikkonen on 278.

Minardi recalled first getting to know Alonso in 1999, with F1 tests for the youngster soon following in Jerez, where his performance levels were "jaw-dropping".

According to Minardi, Alonso had the ability to win "more than five world titles" and ranks as "one of the drivers who made the difference in the last two generations".

Ahead of another move, as the drive with Aston Martin awaits, Minardi said: "Let's hope that this change – because one of Fernando's weaknesses is that he has always been unlucky when changing the team – is beneficial to him and Aston Martin can equip him with what Aston Martin had at their debut.

"Today, without a reason and despite their Mercedes engine, they struggle to get the results they did some years ago.

"So I wish him the best to watch him entertain us. That is what I told him... I still have fun watching you drive, so keep it up."

Daniel Ricciardo has described the prospect of taking a Formula One reserve role in 2023 as "realistic" ahead of his McLaren exit.

Ricciardo has been linked with vacant seats at several teams since McLaren announced an early termination of his contract in August, with spots at Alpine, Williams and Haas up for grabs.

The Australian has struggled for consistency this year, and sits 14th in the drivers' championship standings after finishing just four of his 16 races in the top 10.

Ricciardo has also been linked with reserve roles at F1 heavyweights Red Bull and Mercedes, and recently said his desire to "get back to winning" will be a key consideration when he makes a decision on his future.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, Ricciardo said his preference remained a permanent spot on the grid, but refused to rule out taking a back-up role.  

"Let's say my head space is in the same space," he said on Thursday. "I'm still keen to be part of F1 and of course, plan A would be to be on the grid.

"So nothing's changed but I don't want to just jump at the first kind of seat available. 

"I know the landscape probably changes as well at the end of next year, with contracts and whatever, so I don't want to say I'm remaining patient, but remaining open."

Asked about the prospect of taking a reserve role, Ricciardo added: "It's certainly something that's realistic, yeah.

"That's the two realistic options. It's not to be anywhere else. I love other disciplines of motorsport but I don't see myself there. 

"I feel as well if I jump into something like that, it closes the door on F1. It kind of feels like I've checked out, and I haven't. So I'm solely focused on F1.

"My team is talking with, I want to say, pretty much everyone, or they're having conversations, so we're just trying to put it all together and figure out what makes the most sense.

"So it's not that they're not calling or they're not interested, I'm not coming from a place of overconfidence, but we're just doing our due diligence and figuring out what's best.

"I'm trying to see beyond next year. Of course, I want to be racing but I also don't want to just look at the next 12 months and not look at the next 24.

"I guess I don't want to just race to race, I want to race with a true belief or understanding that I could be back on the podium, ultimately."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has urged Alpine to sign Daniel Ricciardo to fill their vacant seat for the 2023 Formula One season.

The Australian driver will leave McLaren at the end of the current campaign, with Alpine looking for a partner for Esteban Ocon following Fernando Alonso's decision to move to Aston Martin.

Alpine had intended to promote Oscar Piastri but lost the 21-year-old to McLaren, with F1's Contract Recognition Board ruling in favour of the latter after arguments about Piastri's contracts with both teams emerged.

Ricciardo, who raced for Alpine while they were under the guise of Renault, has been touted for a return and Horner believes he is the perfect fit for the French team.

"They know him from a couple of seasons ago and they were great together," he told the Beyond The Grid podcast.

"During his last season, they were scoring podiums, and I think he's the type of guy that I think you could rebuild him.

"It's obviously been not a great experience for him, for whatever reason, and you've just got to think back to some of the drives that he did for us.

"Some of the wins that he had, the podium, some of the stunning overtakes that he was capable of. That's still in there, I'm sure. He just needs a bit of a reset."

Ricciardo has stated he is ready to accept not being on the grid in 2023 if the right opportunity does not arrive, as he is not willing to take a seat "for the sake of it".

"I've certainly accepted if I'm not to be on the grid next year, I'm OK with that," Ricciardo said.

"I've accepted that I'm not going to do everything, or my team's not going to do everything, just to put me on the grid if it's not right or it doesn't make sense.

"This has been challenging, and if I am on the grid I want to know that it's a place that I can enjoy it and feel like I can thrive, like an environment I feel like I can thrive in. Like I said, I don't want to just jump in a car for the sake of it."

Oscar Piastri described Alpine's attempts to announce him in their 2023 driver line-up as "very upsetting" after motorsport's governing body ruled he could sign for McLaren.

Alpine and McLaren were locked in a battle for the services of the 21-year-old, who was a member of Alpine's junior programme and held reserve status with the team this season.

Both teams were in need of a new driver ahead of the 2023 campaign after Fernando Alonso announced he would be leaving Alpine for Aston Martin, while McLaren agreed an early termination of Daniel Ricciardo's deal.

In August, Alpine announced Piastri as a new driver for next year, only for the Australian to deny he had agreed to take a seat with the team.

Friday's ruling by the FIA's contract recognition board (CRB) left Piastri free to partner Lando Norris for McLaren next year, and he has hit out at Alpine's decision to make what he feels was a "false" announcement regarding his future.

"My decision was made well in advance [of Alonso's departure], which made Alpine's announcement probably even more confusing and upsetting because we had told the team that I wasn't going to continue," Piastri told Formula One's website.

"It was quite upsetting as the announcement was false and it also denied me the opportunity to properly say goodbye to everyone.

"I had been with the team for a bit over two and a half years now, and for the rest of the team to find out I was leaving in that manner was very upsetting.

"I still haven't had the opportunity to say goodbye and it's something I want to do, to show my gratitude to all the men and women at Enstone."

Piastri moved to defend his social media intervention following Alpine's announcement, claiming his decision to speak out was a necessary measure. 

"It [the announcement] was done publicly in front of some members of the team who were oblivious to the situation and I didn't want to cause a scene in front of them. It was the biggest moment of my career and probably my life up to now," he said.

"To have that falsely announced was something my management and I felt we had to correct and there was also potential legal implications if we didn't deny the announcement.

"It was not intended to be pointed or in any way anything more than factual. The last line was quite a strong one, but with the CRB ruling, it shows it was purely a fact."

Regarding his decision to seek an exit from Alpine, Piastri pointed to what he described as a "breakdown in trust" between himself and the team's hierarchy.

"To be completely honest, there was a lack of clarity around my future at the team at Alpine," he said. "They publicly stated they wished to continue with Fernando for at least one or two more years. I respect that.

"But after spending the year out, my hopes were firmly set on an Alpine seat and the lack of clarity and, similarly to Fernando, a bit of a strange feeling in negotiations… it didn't feel like it was the right decision for me [to stay].

"The lack of clarity around my future, and ultimately a breakdown in trust, I felt the very attractive offer of McLaren, and the positive dealings with them thus far were all reasons why I felt McLaren was where I was best off for the future."

The FIA's Contract Recognition Board has ruled in favour of McLaren on Oscar Piastri, allowing the Australian to take a seat with the team on the grid from 2023.

Alpine and McLaren were locked in a battle over the services of the 21-year-old, who was a member of Alpine's junior programme and held reserve status with the team this season.

Fernando Alonso's announcement that he would be leaving Alpine for Aston Martin sparked a domino effect in the market, with Alpine then announcing Piastri would take a seat next year.

However, Piastri then took to social media to deny he had agreed to race for the team, with it widely understood he had instead reached an agreement with McLaren - who confirmed Daniel Ricciardo would leave at the end of the season.

Both teams believed they had a valid contract for Piastri, with the case then being heard by the CRB this week - who have now ruled in favour of McLaren.

"The only Contract to be recognised by is the Contract between McLaren Racing Limited and Mr Piastri dated 4 July 2022. Mr Piastri is entitled to drive for McLaren Racing for the 2023 and 2024 seasons," the CRB said.

McLaren swiftly announced Piastri as their 2023 driver alongside Lando Norris and Piastri spoke of his delight at joining the team.

"I'm extremely excited to be making my F1 debut with such a prestigious team as McLaren and I'm very grateful for the opportunity that’s been offered to me," he said.

"The team has a long tradition of giving young talent a chance, and I'm looking forward to working hard alongside Lando to push the team towards the front of the grid. I'm focused on preparing for my F1 debut in 2023 and starting my F1 career in papaya."

Alpine will now be on the hunt for a driver to sit alongside Esteban Ocon next season, with widespread reports Pierre Gasly will join from AlphaTauri, ending his long association with Red Bull, and the team said an announcement on their line-up would be made in due course.

"BWT Alpine F1 Team thanks the Contract Recognition Board (CRB) for convening on Monday and we acknowledge the decision they have made," they stated on Twitter.

"We consider the matter closed on our side and will announce our full 2023 driver line-up in due course. Our immediate focus is the Dutch Grand Prix and securing points in our fight for fourth in the Constructors' Championship."

Alpine is fourth in the Constructors' Championship on 115 points, 20 points ahead of McLaren.

Fernando Alonso said he is sorry for calling Lewis Hamilton an "idiot" on his team radio after their crash at Spa on Sunday, and will apologise the next time they meet.

Hamilton was sent airborne when he hit former McLaren team-mate Alonso during the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, suffering damage that ended his own race.

It initially sparked a furious reaction from Alonso, who was heard to exclaim: "What an idiot! We had a mega start, but this guy only knows how to drive and start in first."

Hamilton took full responsibility after the race for the crash, but it brought back memories of his intense rivalry with Alonso when racing alongside one another at McLaren, and the 37-year-old Briton revealed he was irritated by the Spaniard's reaction.

Asked whether he would be speaking to Alonso after hearing of his radio message, Hamilton said: "No. I would have, until I heard what he said.

"I know that's how things feel in the heat of the moment, but it's nice to know how he feels about me."

However, after several days to reflect, Alonso told the official Formula One website he intended to clear the air with Hamilton when they meet ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, though the Alpine driver also suggested his comments were only scrutinised because of the British media.

"I will hopefully see him today," Alonso said on Thursday. "When we are doing the TV pen I will approach him and say sorry if he understood in that way. I have absolutely no problems with him and I have huge respect for him.

"First of all, it's Lewis – he's a champion, he's a legend of our time. And then when you say something – and I'm sorry to repeat this – against a British driver, there is a huge media involvement after that.

"They've been saying a lot of things to Checo [Sergio Perez], to Carlos [Sainz], to me. If you say something to a Latin driver, everything is a little bit more fun. When you say something to others, it's a little bit more serious.

"But anyway, yes I apologise. I'm not thinking what I said – I don't think that it was much to blame in that moment looking at the replays to be honest, because it was a first-lap incident and we are close together.

"The heat of the moment, the adrenaline of the moment, fighting finally for the top two, top three, made me say those comments that I should not say.

"At the same time, I said after the race that it was a racing incident in my opinion. When you say something on the radio, in that moment you think you are talking to your engineer, so you are preparing the strategy.

"Obviously you should be aware that it should be broadcasted, but it's like if someone makes a hard tackle or something in football. In that moment you say something to your team-mate or whatever, and in that moment it's not broadcasted.

"Before the race or after the race, I said what I was thinking. On the radio, I said something that I was not… I don't think that way."

The resumption of the Formula One season last weekend resulted in a rather strange race in Belgium, with many out-of-position drivers due to various penalties.

Not that it mattered to Max Verstappen though, who worked his way through the pack to secure victory having started 14th on the grid – extending his lead in the title race to 93 points.

With such a strong grip on the title, a far-cry from the events last year in his fierce battle with Lewis Hamilton, attention for many has already started to shift towards the 2023 season.

Seats for next year are still yet to be fully decided and there are plenty of big names in the mix, including Daniel Ricciardo after his exit from McLaren was announced prior to the last race.

For Verstappen though, there's still plenty to achieve. A victory on home soil in the Netherlands this weekend would see the Red Bull ace become the first driver to win back-to-back races at Zandvoort since James Hunt in 1975 and 1976.

Another win would also be his 10th of the season, equalling the tally he achieved last year in his maiden title win. With nine wins from 14 races, Verstappen's win percentage of 64.3 is the highest in F1 history.

 

Ferrari's race regrets

Ferrari have achieved eight pole positions in F1 this season, the most since the nine secured in 2019. Prior to that, the highest they achieved was 12 in 2004. For Charles Leclerc, his seven poles equal his best-ever return, which he set in 2019.

While the qualifying has yielded success, the races have not and Leclerc's title push has suffered as a result – with just one podium finish in the last nine rounds, having started the season with four podiums in five races.

Now third in the standings and 98 points behind Verstappen, Leclerc and Ferrari may well be wondering what might have been.

Alpine and McLaren fight

After a week in front of the FIA hearing on the tussle surrounding Oscar Piastri, Alpine and McLaren's fight will return to the track as they compete for the 'best of the rest' tag in F1 beneath Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes.

Alpine have a 20-point advantage in the constructor's standings, capitalising in Belgium with Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon finishing fifth and sixth respectively, while both McLarens finished outside the points.

That marked the fourth race in a row that Alpine saw both drivers finish inside the top 10, with McLaren at a disadvantage given Ricciardo's struggles in 2022.

The FIA hearing regarding the contract dispute between Alpine and McLaren over Oscar Piastri started on Monday.

During the mid-season break, Alpine announced that Piastri, their reserve driver and part of their young driver programme, would be racing for the team in 2023 following Fernando Alonso's move to Aston Martin.

The Australian later took to social media to deny that claim, however, with Piastri and his manager, former F1 driver Mark Webber, believing he has a valid contract to move to McLaren – who want him to replace Daniel Ricciardo next year.

With both teams believing they hold a valid contract for Piastri, the FIA will settle the situation in a hearing this week, and while no set timeframe has been stated, it is expected an outcome will occur before Friday.

The FIA's contract recognition board will hear the case, and was first set up in 1992 to settle a dispute between Jordan and Bennetton over Michael Schumacher.

Although the FIA could side with Alpine, the French team may feel the relationship is too damaged to partner for 2023 and could then sell him to McLaren, or trade the driver elsewhere on the grid – with reported interest in Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri.

Either way, an available seat at Alpine or McLaren will quickly become the hottest property for drivers to secure a spot for 2023 and will be highly competitive.

AlphaTauri, Williams, Alfa Romeo and Haas are the other teams remaining on the grid not to have fully announced their driver line-up for next season.

Lewis Hamilton declared he was "grateful to still be alive" after crashing out of the Belgian Grand Prix following a collision with Fernando Alonso, as he took responsibility for the incident.

Hamilton was sent airborne when he hit former McLaren team-mate Alonso when approaching the Les Combes chicane on Sunday, suffering damage which ended his own race.

The incident sparked a furious reaction from Alonso, who was heard to exclaim: "What an idiot. We had a mega start, but this guy only knows how to drive and start in first."

While Alonso went on to finish fifth for Alpine, Hamilton's retirement ended a strong run of form for the seven-time champion, who had previously posted five consecutive podium finishes in the Mercedes.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton expressed relief at walking away from the incident unharmed, telling Sky Sports: "Looking back, he was in my blind spot, I didn't give him enough space. It is my fault. I could not see him.

"I'm just so sorry to the team and I need to recuperate and get back on the treadmill.

"I remember looking at the ground, it was definitely high up. I'm grateful to still be alive and in shape."

Hamilton and Alonso had an intense rivalry when racing alongside one another with McLaren, and the 37-year-old Briton revealed he was irritated by the Spaniard's reaction to the crash.

Asked whether he would be speaking to Alonso after hearing of his radio message, Hamilton said: "No. I would have, until I heard what he said.

"I know that's how things feel in the heat of the moment, but it's nice to know how he feels about me.

"It's better that it's out in the open how he feels and, like I said, it wasn't intentional, and I take responsibility for it – that's what adults do."

Alonso played down the comments after securing his joint-highest finish of the season.

"I was surprised, and he's now seen the incident and takes responsibility, which is very nice from him," Alonso said.

"It was a lap-one incident and nothing really to say there. The stewards didn't say anything because these things happen, especially at that corner.

"It's a tricky corner – I was frustrated in that moment, for sure. Every time we start on the first or second row, or are fighting in the top two or three, there is always something going on and I was frustrated.

"Luckily, my car was very strong, and I could continue."

Alpine team principal Otmar Szafnauer is "confident" the ruling over Oscar Piastri's contract will fall in their favour with the dispute set to go before the Formula One contract recognition board (CRB).

Following Fernando Alonso's decision to leave Alpine, the team announced that reserve driver Piastri would replace the Spaniard for the 2023 season.

However, the Australian contradicted this claim when he released a statement on his social media platforms, stating that he would not be driving for Alpine the following year.

Piastri is understood to have committed to McLaren, who are not commenting publicly on the matter.

But speaking ahead of this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix, Szafnauer is adamant Alpine had all bases covered when securing his services.

"We will have the CRB decide which contract Oscar signed takes precedence and after that, we will see where we go," he said.

"There are certain things that need to be in the contract [to secure Piastri], and I am confident they are in there.

"Once we have all the information in front of us, we will start looking at who will fill the open seat."

However, Szafnauer did accept Alpine were hasty with their announcement, having raised eyebrows by doing so without a statement from Piastri.

"I told Oscar before the announcement was made," Szafnauer added. "He happened to be in the simulator, so I went and found him. He smiled and was thankful, so we made the release very quickly.

"Things happen very quickly. We too reacted quickly and didn't want to go back and forth with his management, which is why we put the release out."

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