The Spaniard, in his Ferrari, overtook the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne as he came out of the pit lane after his second stop, on Lap 47. Though running wide, Alonso appeared to have all four wheels on the circuit to complete the move, as Vergne came alongside him at racing speed to take the racing line on the exit of Turn 3.
Before speaking to stewards, the two-time world champion said that he had no choice but to go off the track.
“You have to leave a space when you have a car alongside,” he said. “He didn’t give a space and I had to go outside of the track.”
The stewards shared Alonso’s view and said: “Neither car could avoid the incident, and no advantage was gained as a result of the incident.”
Alonso started 11th on the grid after a poor qualifying effort, but he was the star of the second half of the race as a late charge saw him overtake Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes-GP and Paul Di Resta’s Force India to take fifth.
“Obviously we lost a little time in traffic, but fourth place was 20 seconds in front of us, so I think fifth was the maximum possible,” he said.
With his teammate, Felipe Massa, who had run ahead of Alonso for the first half of the race, finishing eighth, Ferrari picked up 14 points, losing seven to Mercedes in the fight for second in the race for second place in the constructors’ championship.
Ferrari now trail Mercedes by 11 points. Red Bull Racing clinched the title last week.
“We had one Mercedes in front, one behind, and one Lotus in front, one behind, so we minimised the loss,” Alonso said.
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