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.