What was already a difficult day for Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso became even worse on Sunday when they received post-race penalties.
Norris had suffered engine issues during qualifying as he was dumped out of Q2 in 14th, while Alonso got his first front row start since the 2012 German Grand Prix – 158 races ago for him.
The Briton failed to make up any ground, and would go on to lose a place to Alex Albon as he finished 15th.
It was also a miserable day for Alonso as he was passed by Carlos Sainz and Sir Lewis Hamilton, before a Virtual Safety Car gave George Russell a cheap stop.
That then allowed the 24-year-old to clear Alonso when the Spaniard pitted under a Safety Car and, because Esteban Ocon had left it late to pit, he too stopped ahead of the 40-year-old, gaining him a place.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc would clear both Alpines after the restart having started in 19th, leaving Alonso seventh as he beat his steering wheel in frustration at the culmination of a bad day at the office.
Sadly, the stewards had some news for the double world champion that made it even worse, as he was penalised for excessively weaving to defend from Valtteri Bottas on the final lap.
“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,” read their report.
“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.”
Some of Norris’ struggles stemmed from a slow stop when they double stacked him and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo but, after the Australian left the pit box, the McLaren crew did not have the 22-year-old’s tyres ready.
When they did, they put the wrong ones on, so they had to change them again.
“Very [frustrating] because a lot of effort goes in, but from everyone,” said Norris after the race.
“Today, we just didn’t have the package, the car, the straight-line speed… I mean [it’s] always tough from 14th, struggling around with some cars, honestly, we shouldn’t be racing against.
“But at the same time, we have to make the most of it and, one of the biggest factors was we just couldn’t overtake, simple as that.
“And therefore, I’m just stuck behind slower cars and you just can’t do anything from then on so, tough day.
“Not a lot to smile about, but a lot of work to do.”
The young Briton was then flagged up for going 5kph over the pit lane speed limit, so he was awarded a five-second penalty for his troubles.
Alonso himself had additional troubles during the grand prix due to engine issues that started early on in the afternoon, meaning that Ocon had to maintain a steady speed to give the Spaniard DRS to prevent him from being swallowed up by the chasing pack.
It was another day of misfortune for Alonso in a year that has been full of them so far.
“We were unlucky once more with the VSC,” he said in the media pen.
“I was at the start/finish line when it came out and I was just entering the pits when it ended so we decided to stay out, so that was a little bit unlucky there.
“But the biggest problem to be honest was the engine, we had an engine problem in lap 20 or something like that, and I was losing about a second a lap with the energy deployment.
“So, from that moment, we forgot about the podium we were just [either] retiring the car or just staying in the DRS train with a cars in front just to defend.
“But it was very difficult to stay with Esteban or Charles because, on the straights, we were losing one second.”
Norris’ penalty saw no change to his finishing position as he ended 15th, while Alonso was sent down to ninth behind the Alfa Romeo pair of Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.