Motorsport.com spoke with both drivers, who can't seem to agree after today's race.
Sometimes, it pays to agree to disagree. Charlie Kimball and Graham Rahal might want to do that after their incident at turn 10 on lap 54 of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
I was coming into pit lane and that late into a corner is a dumb place to be letting people by and he [Rahal] knows I’m not that dumb.
Kimball was hit at turn 5 by Simon Pagenaud, causing his left rear wheel bumper get closer to his wheel. The wheel was smoking since it was rubbing the bodywork and Kimball was heading towards the pits. However, on the way to the pits, he and Rahal collided, sending Kimball to the tires and bringing out a full course caution.
“There was smoke pouring off my left rear," Kimball explained to Motorsport.com "I had to brake a touch earlier and I was turning into the apex [of turn 10] when he drove into my left rear. I don’t know, it was pretty obvious I was coming into pit lane and that late into a corner is a dumb place to be letting people by and he [Rahal] knows I’m not that dumb.”
It just ticks me off because we genuinely had a car that could have won today.
Rahal sees it differently
“I don’t know, obviously we made contact, he [Kimball] had a broken car," Rahal told Motorsport.com. "He was coming out of turn 9, he was so slow [and] so far off the pace I thought he was pulling over, so I started to accelerate, then he kind of pulled out in front of me. Then I was trying to basically line him up into ten and he broke early, so I dove inside of him and then he rolled the speed in a little bit further and started diagonalizing to the apex and so I tried to bail, but you just can’t when you’re that far in,” Rahal said.
Kimball disagrees with that assessment.
“Frankly, it was pretty obvious I was coming into pit lane and to end up in the tires, at the end of the day it all started back at turn 5, so it’s too bad. The car was really quick, I think the guys did an awesome job on pitstops, even when they had to change a rear beam and pods they did a good job.”
Rahal’s car, and his chances of victory, were damaged as he was given a drive-thru penalty for the contact.
“Yeah, the front wing was broken but it hung in there, it was fine. It just ticks me off because we genuinely had a car that could have won today. I mean I worked my way from 15th up to fifth, I had Helio and those guys in my sights and you know it all just falls apart, it just ticks you off,” Rahal said.
Last-lap spin 'my mistake,' says Kimball
Kimball also had a spin later on in the race on the last lap.
“That was just me making a mistake. Hinchcliffe was obviously saving more fuel than I was expecting, so when I got on the brakes, he backed up a little more into me than I thought, so I had to get on the brakes hard, lock the rears and spun. I’m glad I didn’t take him out,” Kimball said.
Kimball finished 21st, the last of the cars that were one lap down and the last of the Chevrolet cars. Rahal finished 11th, third of the Honda runners.