Lando Norris found himself in the middle of an esports controversy after Simon Pagenaud intentionally punted him out of Saturday's IndyCar online race.
Norris looked set to win his second straight IndyCar iRacing event at a shortened version of the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He collided with a slow-moving Pagenaud two laps from the finish.
Pagenaud, the reigning champion of the real-life Indy 500, had been heard on his stream saying "we take Lando out, let's do it" after pitting in order to put himself ahead of Norris on track. Pagenaud wanted Norris' teammate, fellow IndyCar driver Oliver Askew, to win the race.
The incident led to a backlash on social media, with McLaren CEO Zak Brown critical of how Pagenaud behaved.
Not what you expect from a champion— Zak Brown (@ZBrownCEO) May 3, 2020
Pagenaud later called Norris.
"He apologised," Norris told followers on his Twitch feed. "He said he wanted to come into the pits and he wanted to slow me up, and he wanted Askew to win, he didn't want me to win.
"So he tried slowing me up a little bit and was going to come into the pits. Had no intention of taking me out. Just wanted to slow me down ... by letting off in the middle of the corner and braking right in front of me. So yeah.
"Do you know how many hours, how much time I put into the left [turn]? How many hours I've spent driving in a straight line and then just doing this.
"I must have spent a day in total, I reckon I've spent 24 hours flicking driving in a straight line and turning left, trying to perfect it. With the most delicate touch, I've tried doing it one-handed, with my knee ... 24 hours!
"And then because that guy gets a bit salty that a non-IndyCar driver is about to win an Indy race. It just ruins it. So, yeah, that's that."
Askew, also driving for the McLaren entry as he would if this year's Indy 500 takes place, was also involved in late controversy when he collided with former Haas development driver Santino Ferrucci moments before they reached the finish line. Ferrucci clearly moved across to drive into Askew's car, prompting both to hit the wall and spin wildly in the air.
The incident allowed Scott McLaughlin to claim the win.
Ferrucci also faced a backlash for his driving, but he said he was simply doing whatever he could to ensure his car crossed the finish line in front.
Initially joking off as something he was doing "for the fans, for the cameras" as it was the final lap, he later admitted fault.
"I watched everybody get slowed up there coming out of the last corner," Ferrucci said later. "I was catching Askew, and I've been running a lot of different series lately, and I was trying to get on his door because of the NASCAR style.
"I got a little too close, and I think I turned just a touch too aggressive, and that's my fault. That's definitely my mistake there.
"I did not mean to come across the line through the air to a virtual finish, but also, at the end of the day, we're racing on a video game, and I am second, he is first, and I was doing everything I could to put our car in first place in Victory Lane."