McLaughlin accepted too much blame for Grosjean crash

Scott McLaughlin Romain Grosjean

Scott McLaughlin clashed with Romain Grosjean in the battle for the effective lead of the St Petersburg IndyCar race

Scott McLaughlin believes he accepted more blame than he deserved in the immediate aftermath of his clash with Romain Grosjean in the St Petersburg IndyCar race.

McLaughlin had just taken what should have been his final pit stop when he rejoined just ahead of the #28 Andretti Autosport entry in the battle for the effective lead, for the second time that afternoon.

On cold tyres, he was forced to run a defensive line at Turn 4, but locked the rear brakes and made contact with Grosjean, putting the Frenchman into the tyre wall.

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The pole-sitter was out on the spot while McLaughlin would finish 11th after serving a drive-through penalty over the incident.

The Team Penske driver admitted immediately post-race that he “need[s] to make better decisions” and sought out Grosjean to apologise, but now thinks it was a racing incident.

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He told the Pit Pass Indy Presented by Penske Truck Rental podcast, “I had done this pass before but I was on the green [alternate] tyre, I was now on the black [primary] tyre.

“I knew I was on a black tyre obviously but I made an error. I think if I didn’t lock my rears towards the end of the braking, maybe I make the corner without contact; I think I make the corner.

“But at the same time, [Grosjean] was barely going to make the corner as well with how deep he threw it in. I think it’s a racing incident.

“I’m sorry for my part in it, for sure, and that’s what I probably apologised for probably more so.

“Looking back on it now, I probably took more of the blame than I probably should have, but I’d rather that way because that’s just how I saw it firsthand.

“Captain hindsight’s a wonderful thing, you can look at it many different ways, from different angles and whatever and come to the conclusion about whoever’s at fault.

“But, looking back on it now, I definitely think probably it was a racing incident, and I think Romain got that, but I’m glad I took it on the chin and got on with it.

“It’s one of those deals; I wasn’t going to back out, I’m racing to win. If it was second-last race of the year [and] I needed points, yeah, probably would have thought about it a bit more.

“But I knew if I got past Grosjean there, we would have won the race, there’s no doubt.”

McLaughlin was, however, left frustrated by a gamble on the overcut which went wrong and set the incident in train.

Grosjean was tailing Car #3 when he was called into the pits at the end of Lap 70, whereas the New Zealander’s crew left him out a lap longer.

During that extra 1.8mi (2.9km), McLaughlin caught traffic which cost him precious time and thus he exited just ahead of Car #28.

“It sucks that I took another driver out with me, but at the same time, I was more pissed off with my team, and the opportunity that we had,” he revealed.

“It was just disappointing because I knew that we did get held up coming in.

“I wish I got held up a little bit more so I wasn’t even in that position. It was just like the most awkward position we could have been in and it made us having to make that split-second decision.

“But, like I said, hindsight’s a wonderful thing, it is, but for us to still finish the race, get out, and I think we’re 11th in the points now, I think we were very lucky.”

The 2023 IndyCar Series continues at Texas Motor Speedway on April 1-2 (local time).

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