IndyCar: Helio Castroneves crashes out of Houston Race 2 (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Helio Castroneves’ bid to win today’s Race 2 of the Shell/Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston has ended with a crash on Lap 49.

One lap after ceding the lead to Simon Pagenaud off of a restart, Castroneves was running on the inside heading into Turn 6. He then moved to the outside to begin braking into the left-hander but made contact with Sebastien Bourdais and went into the wall as the Frenchman kept going.

In comments to NBCSN, Castroneves appeared to put the blame on Bourdais.

“When I lost the lead with [Pagenaud], I was actually trying to attack him – and I was attacking him, trying to pass him,” he said. “I’m just trying to pass and I see I would be running out of room, so I come back to try and do [the corner], and I had no idea he was there.

“When I’m attacking, I can’t have my eyes in the back. So, it’s absolutely ridiculous why the guy has to put the car over there. It’s the rules of traffic – the guy that hits the guy in the back is always wrong. You’ve got to take care of it.”

“…It’s just a shame that unfortunately, you have drivers like that that do not use common sense, and that’s what we need to have. But it is what it is. It’s always going to have ups and downs.”

The crash ensures another poor result in Houston for Castroneves. Last year, he suffered Houston finishes of 18th in Race 1 and 23rd in Race 2, which caused his 49-point lead in the championship to turn into a 25-point deficit to Scott Dixon; Dixon would clinch the 2013 title in the season finale two weeks later.

It also opens the door for Castroneves’ teammate, Will Power, to build upon his current 33-point lead over Castroneves in this year’s championship.

Bourdais sustained a damaged front wing in the incident with Castroneves, but did not have it changed when he pitted under green at Lap 63. One lap later at Lap 64, the race went under caution after Josef Newgarden came to a stop in Turn 4.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.