Marcus Ericsson expressed his displeasure with how the Indianapolis 500 finished on Sunday as he lost his lead on the final lap to Josef Newgarden and saw his chances of repeating go up in smoke.
Ericsson had the lead when the third red flag came out following a big crash on the front straightaway. The Swedish driver said he felt officials didn’t give racers enough time to get the tires warmed up.
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“I just felt like it was an unfair and dangerous end to the race. I don’t think there was enough laps to do what we did,” he told NBC Sports after the race. “We’ve never done a restart out of the pits and we don’t get the tires up to temperature.… I think we did everything right today. I’m very proud of the No. 8 crew and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. I think I did everything right behind the wheel. I did an awesome last restart. I think I caught Josef completely off guard and got the gap and kept the lead into Turn 1, which no one hasn’t done all day. But I just couldn’t hold it on the back. I was flat and I couldn’t hold it.”
Ericsson said Newgarden was a “worthy champion” and also did “everything right” to finish first.
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“But I’m disappointed with the way that ended. I don’t think that was fair,” he added.
Ericsson said the pain and agony of not winning wasn’t a good feeling given the way he believed the race ended.
“Again, I feel like we did everything right. I feel like we won that race and then it sort of got taken away from us,” Ericsson said. “It is what it is. The situation is what it is. I think I did everything right on that last restart. I think it was awesome, it’s just not enough today with what we had. It’s tough to swallow, for sure.”
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Ericsson won the race last year and nearly became the first driver to win the Indy 500 back-to-back since Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002.