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IndyCar drivers have plenty of snark and insults after Sonsio Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

INDIANAPOLIS – It began Saturday morning with Santino Ferrucci’s “payback” to Romain Grosjean and ended with Colton Herta taking a shot at Andretti Global teammate Marcus Ericsson after the IndyCar Sonsio Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Just two days into IndyCar’s “Month of May” and the tempers are already starting to flare with two weeks before the biggest race of the year, the 108th Indianapolis 500.

Two of the three Andretti Global teammates banged off each other in the race and that sent Herta’s car through the gravel trap during the race.

He was able to get back on course, but the incident drew some heated words from Herta directed at Ericsson afterwards.

“Your teammate is leading the championship, and you race him like an ass like that,” Herta told NBC Sports, referring to Ericsson. “I don’t know what you’re thinking. He probably broke deeper than in qualifying right there, and he runs me clean off the track.

“You’ve got to be smarter than that, man. So, so dumb.”

When asked if he would talk to Ericsson afterwards, Herta said, “I’ll let him know what I feel, yeah.”

On a positive for Herta, however, he started 24th and raced his way up to seventh in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda for Andretti Global after entering the race with a one-point lead in the championship over Team Penske’s Will Power.

“Definitely room for improvement,” he said. “Really, really solid pit stops, solid strategy. The team definitely made my job a lot easier today picking up positions. A lot of it was fuel cycle, good stops, undercutting a lot of guys. That’s how we made the majority of our positions up. There was a scenario there where we get a podium.”

That scenario never developed and Herta is now fourth in the championship, 25 points behind the leader and race winner Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ferrucci issued some payback to rival driver Grosjean in Saturday morning’s 30-minute warmup session. That is generally when IndyCar teams and drivers go through some high-speed practice runs to ensure their cars are race-ready later that day.

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Syndication: The Indianapolis Star

But Ferrucci still hadn’t forgotten a bumping incident on pit lane at the previous race warmup before the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park on April 28.

Ferrucci, who drives for AJ Foyt Racing, returned the favor as the cars left pit lane Saturday morning by blocking Ferrucci’s Juncos-Hollinger Chevrolet on the track, then banging wheels and giving the driver from France a one-fingered salute.

“Man, he drove into me at Barber in the warmup for no reason,” Ferrucci said afterwards. “I’m simply just returning the favor, my friend.

“It’s not Formula One anymore. With these cars, you can hit people and be fine. You want to turn into me when I have the inside, I’m not lifting. I’m sorry. So, I had the corner. And yeah, that’s on him. He doesn’t like it, then come over here and talk to me about it.”

Ferrucci admitted the incident stems back to the previous run-in at Barber.

“That’s kind of where it started,” Ferrucci admitted. “Honestly, I don’t really have a beef with the guy. He’s a nice dude, but you’ve got to have a little bit more respect for your competitors on track. No sense banging wheels with me in Barber.

“I’m on the inside this time. It’s my corner, and you want to turn into me, then so be it.

“Like I said, I’m not lifting.”

IndyCar: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
IndyCar: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course

Grosjean let karma settle the score with Ferrucci in the race as the AJ Foyt Racing driver had mechanical failure after 55 laps and finished last in the 27-car race.

“Obviously right from the start we had a brake bias failure. So, we started already rearwards, and we ended up being about 70 percent or more rearwards by the time we got here so it kind of killed our braking,” Ferrucci said after dropping out. “We started to develop a mechanical issue throughout the run that they saw on the data. We thought it was best to retire the car. We didn’t want to hurt anything, obviously, going into the Speedway so it's just unfortunate. We could be in pretty good shape today, but it is what it is.”

Grosjean finished 12th and had his several “off road” excursions during the race for Juncos-Hollinger Racing.

NBCSports.com tracked down Grosjean on pit lane after the race and asked him his thoughts on Ferrucci’s “payback” earlier in the day.

“I think I'm not going to comment on that,” Grosjean told NBCSports.com. “I have my point of view. I would like IndyCar (officials) to take action for drivers like this.

“That’s it.”

As for the race itself, Grosjean was able to finish in the front half of the field after an otherwise wild contest.

“I think I did more lawnmower than racing today,” Grosjean said. “At the end, we were P12 behind a lot of tough teams. P12 in the race where we went twice in the grass, I think that’s pretty decent, so I’ll take that and move on.

“P12, I’ll take it. Good race and move on. I think we did a good race.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500