McLaughlin: ‘I need to make better decisions’

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin says he “need[s] to make better decisions” after a clash with Romain Grosjean as they fought for the lead of the St Petersburg IndyCar race.

Twice, the Team Penske driver exited the pits just ahead of the #28 Andretti Autosport entry and, twice, McLaughlin ran the #3 Chevrolet down the inside line as he defended on cold tyres.

On the first occasion, they made light contact but both emerged otherwise unscathed, with the New Zealander retaining the effective lead.

The outcome was not so pleasant next time around, for either.

McLaughlin pinched the rear brakes as he negotiated the right-hander, causing wheel-to-wheel contact with Grosjean which put both into the tyre barrier.

It was the end of the Frenchman’s race on the spot while Car #3 would be slapped with a drive-through penalty before taking the chequered flag a lap down in 13th position.

Despite dramas befalling many other title contenders, it was little consolation for McLaughlin.

“I concentrate on my own mistakes,” he said on the NBC telecast carried in Australia by Stan Sport.

“I need to be better than that and make better decisions.

“Ultimately, I think I was just racing for the win, I knew we could have had a chance if we’d got out in front of him at Turn 4.

“Big apologies. I was just racing hard, man. I promise I don’t race like that, so I’m very gutted.

“We finished the race, but I’ll go man up and see Romain now.”

On the incident itself, the three-time IndyCar race winner said, “First and foremost, I’m very sorry to Romain, he’s a friend of mine, and I know we were both going for the win there. I just made a big mistake.

“I tried to push on cold tyres, I just didn’t have the grip there like I did on the greens [alternate compound tyre] and locked the rears, and unfortunately, we made wheel contact this time that took us both out.

“Look, I don’t race like that. I apologise, I feel that I’ve had many good battles with many good drivers, just gutted for my crew. The fuel mileage was great and I just made a stuff-up, man.

“You have those – you have your good days and your bad days, and I really do have to apologise to Romain – I’ll go and see him soon.”

Grosjean was visibly furious after hopping out of Car #28.

Before the race was done, he said in a television interview, “What happened was what you can see on TV, so I don’t want to elaborate too much on that.

“I’m very disappointed and I hope there’s going to be rules put in place.

“We had a really fast car, the team did an amazing job, but I’m really annoyed to be talking while the race is still going on.”

The former Haas driver has declared before that McLaughlin deserves a Formula 1 test.

Today, he remarked, “I still admire what he’s done, coming from V8 Supercars and he has done a really good job, but what we saw today on track is not racing.”

Grosjean was classified 18th.

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