McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris accused reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud of not wanting him to win today’s IndyCar iRacing Challenge event because he’s not one of the series regular drivers.
Norris was leading with two laps to go, when Pagenaud was slow moving entering pitroad at the exit of Turn 4, leaving Norris nowhere to go.
Just a few laps earlier, Norris had dived down the inside of Graham Rahal for the lead, and Rahal hit Pagenaud as he moved up the race track to give Norris space.
With only a few laps to go and running 1st a backmarker tried ‘slowing him up’ then this happened…
— #L4NDO (@TeamL4NDO) May 2, 2020
Footage of Pagenaud’s stream was uploaded to YouTube after the race, and he said “Oh Norris, really? Wow Lando, wow” after the incident which ended his victory chances.
When Pagenaud returned to the pits, he said “we take out Lando, let’s do it”.
Just before Norris hit Pagenaud, the latter said: “Oh, I was pitting, I didn’t mean to do…”
Norris was broadcasting the race through his Twitch stream and he spoke to Pagenaud after the race. The audio was not loud enough for those watching the stream to hear.
Look away, @LandoNorris fans.
— IndyCar on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) May 2, 2020
Norris explained after the call with Pagenaud: “He apologised.
“He said he wanted to come into the pits and he wanted to slow me up, and he wanted Askew to win, he didn’t want me to win.
“So he tried slowing me up a little bit and was going to come into the pits. Had no intention of taking me out. Just wanted to slow me down…by letting off in the middle of the corner and braking right in front of me.
“Do you know how many hours, how much time I put into the left (turn)? How many hours I’ve spent driving in a straight line and then just doing this (mimics a small turn left like on an oval).
“I must have spent a day in total, I reckon I’ve spent 24 hours flicking driving in a straight line and turning left, trying to perfect it. With the most delicate touch, I’ve tried doing it one-handed, with my knee. 24 Hours!
“And then because that guy gets a bit salty that a non-IndyCar driver is about to win an Indy race. It just ruins it. So, yeah, that’s that.”
Norris has had his F1 engineer from last year, Andrew Jarvis, and others working on his race strategy behind the scenes for the last two races, having won on his series debut at the Circuit of the Americas last Saturday.
Norris continued on his Twitch stream: “I feel so bad for the guys as well.
“Maybe some people aren’t taking it as seriously and they just think it’s a game and it doesn’t matter.
“But there’s still a lot of other drivers, I had Jarv, the engineers and the guys doing strategy. We still put time into it, whether or not we’re at home doing nothing, they’re still working on it and they could be doing other things with their families let’s say.
“They’re still wanting to take part and win a race still. Then some guys just get all selfish, don’t care about any of it.”
Pagenaud declined to comment further when The Race contacted Penske, but he did tweet just after the race, making a joke about the driver’s patience.
— Simon Pagenaud (@simonpagenaud) May 2, 2020
After five lead changes in the space between Turn 3 and the finish line in a crash-strewn race ending, Scott McLaughlin took victory for Penske.