O’Ward on controversial incident with Ericsson: “I’ll make sure he comes with me next time”

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Pato O’Ward’s dream of winning the Indy 500 will have to wait at least another year after a heartbreaking end to today’s race.

The Mexican was supremely fast throughout the day, running in the lead or P2 at stages while always comfortably running in the top 6.

Photo credit: Penske Entertainment | James Black

However, things got tricker as the race went on. The number 5 Arrow McLaren wouldn’t accept a complete load of fuel.

Luckily for them, a caution was thrown for Grosjean’s crash on lap 151 and he could go aggressive. He pitted in that period and was outside the top 10.

Nonetheless, things came back his way. As the likes of Ericsson, Newgarden and Rosenqvist pitted out front with around 30 laps to go, O’Ward could go for it in clean air. He pitted with 20 laps to go and rejoined a net P3. The 24-year-old quickly cleared Rosenqvist and Ericsson to take the lead.

Even after a red flag for a frightening crash involving Rosenqvist and Kirkwood, he looked in prime position to win with 9-lap fresher tyres than Ericsson and Newgarden behind him.

On the restart with 9 laps to go, they both passed O’Ward. On the run to turn 3, the Mexican was trying to make a move down the inside of the Swede and they touched.

O’Ward ended up heavily in the wall but thankfully walked away from it unharmed.

“Yeah, very accurate [if he felt he was squeezed by Ericsson]. I just think I was a little too nice there.

“I just feel so bummed for the team [Arrow McLaren] — we had four very fast race cars out there and now there’s only two in the race.”

It was clear who O’Ward felt was in the wrong. Going by his strong comments to NBC, he won’t be forgetting what Ericsson did anytime soon.

“There was 7 laps to go. I was going to be going for it. I was way too nice.

“I’ll make sure he comes with me next time.”

When asked if he was trying to get past Ericsson quickly to stay in touch with Newgarden, he stated “yeah”.

“I got on to the apron to give him room. I got squeezed — I won’t forget that one.”