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McLaughlin claims Grosjean clash “destroyed” Detroit GP chances

Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin reckons that his clash with ex-F1 driver Romain Grosjean “destroyed” his chances of a top-five finish in the Detroit Grand Prix on Sunday.

Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad

McLaughlin, who started from the front row, collided with Grosjean’s Andretti Autosport car just after two-thirds distance at Turn 1, as the Frenchman rejoined from the pits.

Despite being on cold tires, Grosjean went straight for the apex at Turn 1 as McLaughlin attempted to pass him on the inside, leading to a collision that sent the New Zealander into a huge slide. The pitlane exit line had been moved and shortened since Friday practice, angled more away from the racing line in an attempt to prevent situations like this.

The pair have also previous form this season, crashing out at St Petersburg together with the roles effectively reversed, as McLaughlin was defending on cold tires soon after a pitstop.

When asked by NBC how their clash impacted his race, McLaughlin replied: “It destroyed it. Basically, we got into Turn 1 there, the pit exit is a bit awkward, but he just drove straight into me, so I was committed, braking as deep as I could, and he just went straight to the apex and I had nowhere to go.

“It’s duty of care from all of us to get out of there cleanly, I just don’t think he really cared about where I was and just turned across my nose.

“The car was fast, and on the last few laps there I think we hammered through them on that last restart, I think we were 12th or something, and came through to seventh. A reasonable recovery but, overall, gutted with the day.”

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet lead at the start

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Scott McLaughlin, Team Penske Chevrolet lead at the start

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

McLaughlin also rued the early stages of the race, where he was clipped by Scott Dixon at the first corner and then passed by Grosjean straight after a restart on lap seven.

He recalled: “At the start I think someone hit me, I can’t remember who, and it upset me, and then Grosjean got by me.

“He was really slow on his green [softer alternate tires] and it pushed us back into the black-tired cars and it was just a fight, but I think we could’ve come out racing near Rossi [who finished fifth], something like that.

“So it was a really good bounce back weekend [after finishing 14th in the Indy 500], just coulda been better.”

Grosjean crashed out with 20 laps to go due to a suspension failure that put him in the Turn 4 wall.

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