Esteban Gutierrez has admitted that his crash at the end of the first qualifying session was due to driver error.
“Unfortunately I made a mistake and feel sorry for the whole team. I need to avoid this kind of mistake and try to make the most of my potential.”
However, the Mexican rookie did appear to be in the right frame of mind as he looked to take the positives out of the rain-hit session.
“I feel very comfortable with the car and this is something that is a step forward for me.”
Following a thirty minute delay, qualifying got underway on a wet track, and Gutierrez wasn’t the only driver to be caught out in the conditions. His collision with the wall brought out yellow flags towards the end the session, preventing many drivers from bettering their times, and it also stopped Gutierrez from escaping the Q1 drop zone. He will start the race in 18th place on Sunday.
Qualifying was eventually postponed after the rain grew heavier, and the drivers will return to the track at 11am local time on Sunday to complete Q2 and Q3. You can find full details of NBC’s coverage for the session here.
Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama
Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.
First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:
“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.
“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”
When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.
“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.
“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”
NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.
“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.
“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.
“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”