Alonso cleared of any wrong-doing by stewards

4 Comments

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.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Leave a comment

So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.