Hawksworth: “Pagenaud Nerfed Me Off”

When racing on a track with concrete barriers and tight turns, contact is expected. And that’s exactly what happened Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.

With three laps to go, Simon Pagenaud made contact with Jack Hawksworth, putting him in the tire barriers in Turn 5. Hawksworth was running just inside of the top 10, poised to post his best finish of the year.

“We had a brake problem, and we were just trying to manage that,” Hawksworth told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “Slowed up a little bit, and he caught me a little bit. Turn 5, he just ran into the back of me. He just nerfed me off.”

Pagenaud ended up finishing ninth on the day and chalked it up to just racing.

“He made a mistake in three,” Pagenaud told POPULAR OPEN WHEEL. “I crossed him, and he knew I was there, but he didn’t give me any room to make turn five, so I tried to make [an] evasive action, but he turned on me.

“There was no room to go anywhere; it’s not like it’s a super wide track, so [an] opportunity for him. He didn’t want to race with room, so it is what happened.”

The point leader had spent most of the race in the top five, but lost his track position when he got caught out having not pitted yet at Lap 45.

“(Scott) Dixon and I got caught,” he said. “That was the fear. It’s always like that in Toronto. It’s very much a gambling situation. I think Dixon and I were strongest today, but the result is different. Luckily we didn’t lose too much in the championship, so we’ll move onto the next one.

“We’re competitive everywhere, so I’m not too worried about the next upcoming race. Particularly, we just haven’t had much luck lately.”

It’s not the first time these two drivers have been involved in an incident together. At Barber Motorsports Park, Pagenaud was battling for the win with Graham Rahal late in the race while Hawksworth was trying to stay on the lead lap. Pagenaud got caught behind Hawksworth, resulting in Rahal catching him and passing him for the lead. Pagenaud was able to come out on top, though, after Rahal ran into the back of Hawksworth when Hawksworth eventually tried to get out of the way.


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