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IndyCar Indy 500

Rossi: Indy 500 rivals were “getting away with crazy restarts”

Arrow McLaren driver Alexander Rossi has hit out at the “jump starts” that he felt his rivals were allowed to get away with during Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

Benjamin Pedersen, A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet

Rossi, who won the centenary Indy 500 in 2016, finished this year’s race in fifth position in his first start in the event for McLaren since his switch from Andretti Autosport.

He was particularly annoyed about a lap 101 restart, following the first caution of the day for Sting Ray Robb’s Turn 1 crash, when Marcus Ericsson swept past him and Rinus VeeKay around the outside of Turn 4, giving the Swede – who went on to finish runner-up – a run into Turn 1 where he passed both Penskes of Will Power and Josef Newgarden.

“For me, it’s the jump starts that we need to look into,” he told NBC Peacock after the race. “I felt that Marcus had a huge one. [Alex] Palou had one… I dunno, maybe we weren’t doing a good enough job. It’s certainly something to look into.

“When the chaos started, after Felix’s crash, it was a lap and then a crash and then a lap and then another crash. And people, in my mind, were getting away with some pretty crazy restarts.”

Rossi had less issue with the controversial decision to red flag the race for a green-white-chequered flag finish, which pushed IndyCar’s mantra of trying to finish races under green to its absolute limit.

It meant the cars didn’t even get a full warm-up lap before they were racing for the final lap.

“I don’t know, you can see arguments on both sides,” he said. “And it didn’t affect us much as we were restarting in fourth, it’s not like we were leading. But I’ve never seen a leave pitlane to a white flag before.”

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

McLaren lost its strongest entries when both Pato O’Ward, who led a race-high 39 laps, and Felix Rosenqvist, who led for 33, were both taken out by crashes inside the final 15 laps.

Rossi was its best-placed driver in fifth, while Tony Kanaan was on the lead lap in 16th in the final race of his IndyCar career.

“Arrow McLaren had three cars to beat, it just sucks to come away with a fifth when our cars were that good,” admitted Rossi. “It’s good in a sense, but it also sucks.

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“We come away annoyed and disappointed. But through all of those restarts, red flags, and, to my mind, stupidness, it kind of got away from us.

“I’m so grateful for the cars that we had, and obviously it’s amazing for Team Chevy to have the win, it was an amazing showing from the team all month.

“We’ll take the positives from what we, as a group, managed to accomplish this month, and go forwards to Detroit. But it certainly feels like a missed opportunity and it’s frustrating. We’ll try and learn from it and move on.”

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