“Punk” Grosjean lives up to “European reputation” – Rahal

Graham Rahal slammed Romain Grosjean as the pair collided in the Barber IndyCar race, saying he is now living up to his ‘reputation’ in Europe.

In the closing stages of the race, Grosjean – who pitted early and found himself on the wrong strategy after starting eighth – attacked Rahal for seventh place.

The battle came to a head when Grosjean dove on the inside at the hairpin left of turn 5, but Grosjean hit Rahal on his left side and then hit him again shortly after a second time, which which appeared to be Grosjean’s fault based on the replays.

Rahal called Grosjean a “punk” on the radio, then after the race he reacted angrily to Peacock TV, including criticizing Grosjean’s reputation and driving earlier this season scorning the sophomore IndyCar driver.

“Well, I think that’s clear from the dash cam, look at the angle of his head,” Rahal fumed.

“For me, when I can see in the mirrors that his head is straight in that direction when the track goes like this [a different] way, that’s pretty self-explanatory.

“I was trying that outside move on Scotty [McLaughlin] all the time, so I knew Romain was going to dive-bomb me because I’d already been warned that’s what he was doing.

Rahal then saw a replay of the incident: “We are already here, why are you transforming into me? Your right front is to my left rear, there’s no excuse for that. Here, look at him! Drop the car to crash into me, then, again, boom we’re straight.

“I’m just frustrated because it’s not the first time. At St Pete’s he hit everyone he could hit. We come here, he hit Rossi, he hit Herta, he hit me. At some point, we have to clean up our act.

Rahal said he was not the only one to criticize Grosjean’s tactics and believes he lives up to the reputation he earned during his incident-strewn recruit. [full] Formula 1 season in 2012.

“I won’t name them, but as another rider on the show told me, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ and that has been his reputation throughout his career in Europe” , he added.

“We are leaning his reputation quickly here. For me if race control won’t do anything then they won’t do anything but when we go and kick it they better not do anything to me whereas in the past I’ve been penalized for much less than that.

Grosjean played down the incident in his post-race interview and did not follow up on his angry radio comments after the race, although it must be said that Grosjean spoke before Rahal and therefore had not heard Rahal’s comments at the time.

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“We touched a few times, but it was a good race,” said Grosjean.

“It was hard there. Barber is a very good track but it’s very hard to pass, especially when you’re on a train [of cars]. If the car in front of you has no one else in front of you, you can try a different line but we were all in line.

“It’s a good race, I guess, it’s IndyCar. It’s wheel-to-wheel racing.

When Rahal’s radio claiming it was deliberate was played to Grosjean, the Frenchman laughed and said ‘no no, I think it’s just a tough race. I was later on the brakes than him, there was a little more grip on the outside, I was a little stuck in the corner”.

“It was a soft touch because it’s so hard to pass there’s a lot of wheel slams.”

Grosjean passed Rahal for seventh on the final lap as Rahal ran out of fuel but was able to hold eighth.

Pato O’Ward won the Barber race for Arrow McLaren SP, his first of the year, beating new points leader and defending champion Alex Palou.

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