Damon Hill remains bemused by the five-second penalty that relegated Carlos Sainz from the points at the Australian Grand Prix. The Ferrari driver was punished for contact which sent Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin spinning in the Turn 1 restart melee with two laps to go and was demoted from fourth to 12th in the finishing order. But Sainz’s penalty was complicated by the reordering of the race standings, with red flags thrown after further incidents involving both Alpines, Logan Sargeant and Nyck de Vries, as Alonso was reinstated to his podium position to eradicate the impact of his spin. “The Carlos Sainz five-second penalty in a race that didn’t exist, that affected the outcome of the race that happened afterwards, I am still scratching my head over that,” Hill told the F1 Nation podcast. “I think he does have a point. “I mean, maybe what they should have done is that instead of giving you a five-second penalty in a race that didn’t exist, is given him some [penalty] points, you know, they have the option to give drivers endorsements on their [super] licence. “How can you have affected a race that it didn’t affect? Because actually, it didn’t affect Fernando Alonso, he was back put back where he was. “If he had taken Fernando out of the race, then definitely, the future race would have been affected.” ‘Difficult’ to work out Alpine answer Alonso, Sargeant and de Vries were all promoted back to their original positions for the final lap of the race with no running order available to race control after the Turn 1 incident with the red flags thrown before the first sector was completed. But with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly unable to rejoin the race with both Alpine’s terminally damaged, Hill conceded it was difficult to acknowledge where a line should be drawn. “I think it’s something that I’ve found difficult to work out the answer to, and I’m sure that that’s the position that the race directors will be in as well,” added the 1996 World Champion. “It was an extraordinary head-scratcher, the whole of the last few laps, and the reactions have been mixed – [in] classic F1 style. “There are two reactions: ‘This is a joke, Formula 1 is nonsense because they don’t know what to do’ in the general press. “Then there are people who go ‘this is fantastic’, because it is part of the enjoyment of the sport, this complexity of it, and that it creates situations that it is anyone’s guess as to what’s going to happen next. “I kind of liked that about it.”

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