Fernando Alonso: Midfield rivals prefer to crash rather than lift off

Fernando Alonso has hit out at his rivals' conduct on the opening lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Spaniard was hit heavily by Williams' Sergey Sirotkin on the first lap in Baku. The incident also involved Renault's Nico Hulkenberg as the trio were side by side exiting Turn 2 with three cars coming into contact.

The collision left Alonso with a damaged front wing and two punctures which in turn damaged the floor of his McLaren. The two-time champion recovered -- with the aid of two Safety Car periods -- to finish seventh for the third race in succession.

Speaking after the race in Baku, Alonso says other drivers need to be more cautious on the opening laps of races.

"For me it could be managed in a different way,'' Alonso said. "The first lap when you are starting in the middle of the group the people don't lift off. When you are in a situation that you will crash they prefer to crash with you than lift off. They are were three cars closing, closing, closing, and no one lift off, and I was on the inside and I took two flat tyres out.

"It is like a one lap race. That is a shame, it compromised some of the races for the people around, but it is up to us to qualify in the first two or three rows and normally in those positions it is a little bit cleaner.''

Alonso now sits sixth in the drivers' championship on 28 points after scoring in each of the opening four races of 2018. He believes his performance on Sunday -- due to the damage on his McLaren -- was one of the best of his Formula One career.

"But because the safety car was on the track we kept running with significant damage on the car. We found ourselves for whatever reason very competitive and overtaking cars. So we stayed in the race, and then P7 is an unbelievable result, probably one of the best races I ever did.''