Marcus Ericsson was furious after he lost the lead on the last lap of the Indy 500, criticizing the stewards for an “unfair and dangerous” finish to the race.
Chip Ganassi Racing driver was in the lead when a third red flag was thrown with two laps to go, leaving Ericsson on the verge of becoming the first driver to secure back-to-back wins in “the greatest spectacle in racing” since Helio Castroneves in 2002.
But race officials decided to send the drivers on a thrilling one-lap battle for victory – an unusual decision considering the cars usually do an exit lap and a warm-up lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before returning to green flag conditions.
The consequence of this decision was that Ericsson was forced to defend the lead from Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden, who ultimately stole the win with a turn 3 pass.
A clearly annoyed Ericsson, who fought for Caterham and Sauber in F1 before moving to the States, said NBC sports: “It was an unfair and dangerous end to the race.
“I don’t think there were enough laps to do what we did. We never did a restart outside the pits, we didn’t get the tires up to temperature.
“I think we did everything right, I am very proud of everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. I did everything right behind the wheel, amazing last restart, I think I surprised Josef, built up a lead and held the lead into Turn 1 which no one had all day.
“I just couldn’t keep it on my back. I was flat. Congrats to Josef, he’s a worthy champion but I’m very disappointed with the way it ended, I don’t think it’s fair.
“We won that race and then everything was taken from us.
“It is how it is. I think I did everything right with this reboot, it was awesome but it just wasn’t enough with what we had.
“It’s definitely hard to swallow.”