Sato labels Grosjean ‘reckless’ over practice shunt

Romain Grosjean shunts Takuma Sato. Picture: Stan Sport

Takuma Sato has described Romain Grosjean as “reckless” after being shunted by the new Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in Practice 2 at St Petersburg.

Grosjean caused one of three red flags in the second and final 45-minute session before qualifying for Race 1 of the season when he ran into the back of the #51 Dale Coyne Racing w/ RWR entry at Turn 10.

Sato had been part of a slow-moving bunch of cars, with some drivers still trying to find their own real estate in the laps following the first red flag period on the Florida street circuit.

The Japanese driver laid the blame squarely on the Andretti Autosport pilot, who appeared to be on a hot lap, and highlighted also how Grosjean almost caused an incident when he was jostling in traffic at the very beginning of the session.

“Well, it’s a shame, isn’t it?” said Sato on the NBC Sports telecast.

“Everybody trying to make a gap, which is the right thing.

“OK, nobody wants to have that situation, but we were just slowing down, and I have to hit the brake after coming through [Turn] 9A, which is a little kink, you still have nearly half-mile, you can see cars slowing down, so I was slowing down; so did Conor Daly behind me.

“And Grosjean coming hot. I don’t know what he was thinking; he was reckless.

“Right beginning in the morning, hit the [Helio] Castroneves on the out lap, on the very installation lap, already.

“I don’t know what he was thinking. I mean, he could clearly see the cars are double-wide and very slow, but I don’t know, I can’t understand it.”

The crash put both Sato’s #51 car and Grosjean’s #28 out for the balance of the session, meaning neither got any mileage on the red, option tyre ahead of qualifying.

“I could see he was coming hot, but I had a car in front and a car in the left too, so I couldn’t go anywhere, and I didn’t want to intentionally hit anyone in front to avoid it, so nothing we could do,” recalled Sato.

“This is only practice, this is only third out lap after the yellow, it’s just no point to come in hot like that, and we lost the entire time…

“I didn’t even get the red tyre on, so it’s a shame.”

Grosjean, who was quickest in Practice 1 on the afternoon prior, has not yet been interviewed about the incident.

CLICK HERE for Grosjean reaction

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin was fastest in Practice 2 with a sub-60-second lap in Car #3.

Qualifying starts at 04:30 AEDT and will be streamed live on Stan Sport.

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