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Oriol Servia defends moves that drew controversy, criticism in Indy 500

After being lambasted by runner-up Alexander Rossi for “one of the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in a race car,” Oriol Servia defended his Indianapolis 500 maneuvers.

The Spaniard’s Dallara-Honda was a lap down with fewer than 50 laps remaining when he nearly made contact with Rossi, who was running in the top five.

After nearly hitting the inside wall on the frontstretch, Rossi passed Servia on the outside down the frontstretch the following lap.

Rossi wildly shook his right hand outside the cockpit while hanging onto the wheel with his left at 230 mph.

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“He’s a lap down and defending, putting me to the wall at 230 miles an hour,” Rossi said of Servia.

“It’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable for him, and it’s unacceptable that IndyCar allowed it to happen as long as they did.”

In a series of tweets Tuesday night, Servia defended his actions, which he said were permitted by IndyCar rules (his driving wasn’t penalized by the stewards).

Servia also noted that he was in a situation similar to third-place finisher Takuma Sato, and that if he’d caught the right breaks on cautions and how the race unfolded for other cars, he could have been back on the lead lap.

For the second consecutive year, the Indy 500 is Servia’s only scheduled IndyCar race this season. He will return to driving the pace car for the NTT Series in serveral races, which he discussed on a recent episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast.