Long Beach: race report Long Beach: full results

Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports' Simon Pagenaud had been having a strong run of it in the first half of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sunday afternoon, which saw him take the restart on lap 32 in second place behind long-time leader Ryan Hunter-Reay.

A good result looked to be on the cards, when seconds later Pagenaud found himself punted into the tyre wall in turn 7. Although he was able to get going again without causing a caution or going a lap down, it left the Frenchman in recovery mode for the rest of the afternoon.

"Our day was ruined by Will Power, and it's unfortunate because it was dirty driving on his part," fumed Pagenaud after the race.

For his part, Power - who was Pagenaud's team mate in Team Australia back in 2007 in the CART Champ Car World Series - was quick to apologise for the incident.

"Man, I'm really sorry about what happened," he said. "He should be angry. I'd be the same.

"I honestly thought he had a problem because he went back really slowly and so I went up his inside and then realised he was just going to turn and try to back out. I got him. My bad - I feel bad," he admitted.

"I honestly thought he had a flat tire or something because he was really slow and I didn't understand why," he added. "I don't like to be raced like that and I'm surprised I didn't get a penalty."

Many were surprised by the lack of a sanction from the race stewards, who had just handed out a drive-thru to Graham Rahal for spinning Justin Wilson at the restart. Although they looked at the Power/Pagenaud clash at the same time they took no action, seemingly accepting that Power had understandable cause to try and make the move when he did.

That didn't mollify Pagenaud though, who rejected utterly the idea that he had been slowing up: "Racing, green flag, and I slowed down?" Pagenaud replied incredulously when told of Power's comments. "Good for him," he added acidly.

"We'll move on, though," he added after fighting back to finish in the top six by the finish, helped somewhat by a multiple-car wreck on lap 54. "I'm satisfied with fifth considering the spin and everything else we had to deal with today. We're off to a great start in the championship, but the next time we have a car this good, we're going to win."

In the Verizon IndyCar Series points standings, Will Power now has a strong lead after adding a second place to his previous win at the 2014 season opener at St Petersburg. That puts him on 93 points after the first two rounds of 2014, 27 ahead of Mike Conway; but Pagenaud's recovery drive on Sunday afternoon means he keeps third place in the standings on 60 points just ahead of Power's Penske team mate Helio Castroneves.

Long Beach: race report Long Beach: full results

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment