Nov 3, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
Fernando Alonso has been cleared of any wrong-doing by the stewards at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after appearing to pass Jean-Eric Vergne off-track during today’s race.
The Spanish driver failed to qualify inside the top ten for the first time since the 2012 European Grand Prix, but he managed to recover during the race to finish fifth ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Force India’s Paul di Resta. However, the post-race investigation meant that he was poised to drop to ninth place behind teammate Felipe Massa and McLaren’s Sergio Perez if he had been found guilty.
After making his late second stop, Alonso came out close to Vergne and Massa who were battling for position at the time. The pit lane and exit at Abu Dhabi is unique with a tunnel leading drivers under the first corner and eventually releasing them on a fast left-hander heading down towards the chicane. On exit, Alonso found himself on the left-hand side of Vergne, but he did not yield position and instead made it past by taking to the kerbing on the inside of the corner.
Soon after this incident, the stewards confirmed that Alonso was under investigation for exceeding track limits and that a verdict would be given after the race.
However, the Spaniard was eventually cleared by the panel led by Martin Donnelly in Abu Dhabi, meaning that he kept hold of fifth place and the ten points he scored. This sees him extend his lead over retiree Kimi Raikkonen in the battle for second place in the drivers’ championship, and it would take a remarkable turnaround to see Alonso squander his thirty-four point lead over the Finn.
Ferrari did lose ground in the constructors’ championship though as Mercedes outscored the Italian marque by seven points. The Silver Arrows are now well-placed to secure the runner-up spot behind champions Red Bull.
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