Early in the IndyCar race from Road America, team-mates Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou came together while battling for the third position.
Ericsson made a move to the inside of the turn 5 braking zone, but contact with Palou broke the Spanish driver’s steering. The reigning series champion ended up in the gravel, and had to have his car towed back to pit lane.
Palou felt his team-mate pushed him a bit hard, but Ericsson saw it a different way. After the race, he explained that he was completely comfortable with the move he executed and believes it was all fair racing.
“From inside the car, the door was open there,” said Ericsson. “I went for the move. Alongside him at the apex, made the corner. From my side he turns into me from the outside lane.
“You hate to see your team-mate retire from a contact with you. That’s the last thing you want to do. I don’t see I did anything wrong. It was a fully race move.
“It was not like I was oversteering or anything like that. I was surprised to get the hit there. I don’t know what more to say.
“Might have been early in the race, but this race is a track-position race. If you get an opportunity, you need to go for it.
“As I said, there was nothing wrong with that move. That was clear on the TV pictures. I feel like [the responsibility] was more on his side there.”
Palou saw the clash a bit differently, as is usually the case, and felt that his team-mate was overly aggressive so early in the race.
“I think he was trying to win the race on the third lap,” a frustrated Palou told NBC shortly after the crash. “I was surprised that my team-mate hit me, not that the car broke. We can play this game as well, so we’ll see.”
Palou eventually returned to the race after getting his car repaired in pit lane, but ended the day 19 laps down and in last position.
Meanwhile, Ericsson continued with no damage, and was able to finish in second place ahead just behind Josef Newgarden. He even reclaimed the points lead heading into a two-week break.
All eyes will be on the team-mates in Mid-Ohio to see if the pair of generally calm and collected drivers continue their battle on track.