Mistake costs McLaughlin shot at top 10 in Detroit

Scott McLaughlin finished 19th in the Detroit Grand Prix opener

Contact with the outside wall at the penultimate corner put paid to a possible top finish for Scott McLaughlin in the opening race of the Detroit Grand Prix.

A pit stop shortly before the first Safety Car intervention of the day put McLaughlin firmly in contention for a top 10 finish until his untimely mistake.

Ultimately, the #3 pilot would finish 19th and three laps down while Marcus Ericsson went on to snag victory.

McLaughlin had been 10th when the race resumed on Lap 32 after a red flag intermission for Felix Rosenqvist’s almighty crash, but was forced to the pit lane with a broken left rear toe link on Lap 51.

A trying time in the 70-lap affair followed a shortened outing in practice for the Kiwi, which lasted just five laps before crashing at Turn 5.

With little track experience, the 28-year-old went on to qualify 23rd.

“My first race at Detroit started off a bit on the back foot from the incident in practice yesterday,” said McLaughlin.

“As a result, we qualified back in the pack, but we were having a strong race with the PPG Chevrolet.

“We looked like we would end up somewhere around 10th after the final stop, but I just made a mistake, hit the wall, and broke the toe link.

“That was pretty much the end of our day, but I learned a lot for tomorrow.

“This was one of the hottest races I’ve had in a while; very taxing physically and mentally.”

McLaughlin wasn’t the only driver to fall foul to the Belle Isle Street Circuit, however.

Ryan Hunter-Reay’s challenge came undone after he clipped the outside wall shortly after his first pit stop of the day in similar circumstances to McLaughlin.

Meanwhile, ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean suffered a puncture and crashed at the fountain section late in the piece.

Josef Newgarden was the best Team Penske finisher in 10th despite losing a wheel after his first pit stop.

“I’m really proud of the way we fought our way back for a top-10 finish,” said the two-time series winner.

“I felt like the #2 Hitachi Chevrolet was a winning car, and I believe we had the fastest lap.

“We just had one mistake early on in the race and got caught a lap down.

“Luckily, we caught a yellow around Lap 20 that helped us get our lap back, and from there we just recovered as best we could.

“All in all I’m pretty pleased. Obviously, we want to come back tomorrow and be better. We have the car to do it and the team to do it.”

Pagenaud would wind up 12th while Power was 20th and one place behind McLaughlin.

The IndyCar Series field will have another shot at success tomorrow at 02:00 AEST in the second race of the Detroit Grand Prix.

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