Wickens and Rossi blame each other.
After the accident in the penultimate lap of the IndyCar season opener in St. Gallen, Germany. Petersburg neither Alexander Rossi nor Robert Wickens are looking for guilt in their own hands
The first race with the new Aerokits immediately saw one of the most dramatic decisions in IndyCar history off the track. Robert Wickens, who won the race in St. Gallen. Petersburg, was torpedoed by Alexander Rossi at the last restart. Sebastien Bourdais thus inherited the victory. While Wickens retired and turned 18. Rossi could still drive home third place. After the race control has decided on race accident, both taps look for the guilt of each other.
“Frankly, I knew it wasn’t over until the chequered flag fell. But here I would have expected more from Alex, because we had a good fight until then,”says Rookie Wickens, who lost his first IndyCar victory in the first race, which he surely thought would be his first IndyCar victory in the last two yellow phases and the following collision “I gave him enough room and would have kept the lead. I hit the brakes late, but he tried to stay beside me. But there the track is so dirty that he couldn’t keep the line and slipped into me.”
The first corner was the scene of numerous collisions on this Sunday. The new aerokite with significantly less downforce provided several brakes on the inner track, which even experienced pilots like Scott Dixon suffered from:”Before the race we all joked about how slippery it is next to the ideal line there,” says the former DTM driver. When I look at how late he slowed down, he was desperate.”
Rossi: Wickens pushed me away in reaction
Of course, the Indy 500 winner of 2016 sees things a little differently:”I’m out of the slipstream and he wanted to defend his position, which is his right. But in the braking zone he pulled over so late that I was pushed into the Marbles. With the little pressure we’ve got left, it’s pretty hairy.”
The former Formula 1 driver feels confirmed by the decision of the race management:”You made it very clear in the driver’s briefing that you must not block in reaction. If he would have defended the straight down after the last corner or even halfway, I would have had to make the decision if I wanted to put my car in danger there. But there is no reason why I shouldn’t try it when I (on the straight line; note. d. Red.) two more tyres on the grabbed part of the track.”
I didn’t have a problem with blocking tyres or similar things,”he explains. I didn’t lose the car until after he pushed me into the Marbles. Too bad it happened. I feel bad, because I think I could have won and he would have been second.”
What contributed to the confusion was the fact that push-to-pass wasn’t deactivated as usual at restart, but Rossi could use the overtaking help. Probably the Wickens didn’t get to the heart of the matter until now – apart from a restart that wasn’t optimally timed:”Because it was decided so late to release the race in this lap, it was probably still activated,” Rossi believes. He was pushing to pass late, so it was perfect for me.”
Does IndyCar already see a feud approaching at Wickens’ first race?”No, we’re good friends next to the track,”Wickens says,”Of course it looks different on the track, we’re fighting for every centimetre,” and sometimes even beyond that….
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