Perfect Palou, beats McLaren drivers, Lundgaard

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou took his first win of the season after trailing and then passing poleman Christian Lundgaard, who fell to fourth in the closing stages of the race.

The #10 Ganassi team played tire strategy perfectly to allow Palou to lead 52 of 85 laps and climb to the top of the points standings, while Pato O’Ward and Alexander Rossi were able to outsmart and eventually overtake the No. 45 Rahal. Letterman Lanigan car from Lundgaard to complete the podium.

Surprisingly, it was pretty much a day to forget for Penske cars that just didn’t have the speed to compete up front.

RACE HISTORY

Lundgaard and Rosenqvist opted to start the race on primary tyres, and Alex Palou, third on the grid, was the only top seven driver to choose replacements, ahead of Jack Harvey, Pato O’Ward, Kyle Kirkwood and Marcus Ericsson .

Behind that septet, Marcus Armstrong in another Chip Ganassi Racing car, was the only one of the next seven to pick primaries.

Lundgaard got off to a good start to jump over Rosenqvist, but Palou was all over him using his grippier tires and on turns 12 and 13 he passed the Rahal Letterman Lanigan car to cross the line first, and the Dane n couldn’t fight back in turn 1.

Harvey had also passed Rosenqvist to finish third, while further down the opening lap Rossi – down 10e – used his substitutes to edge his teammate for fourth place. Meanwhile, Josef Newgarden had gone from 13e in the eighth, as Scott Dixon lost in the first turn reshuffle and fell to 16e.

The yellows flew out to collect the two Dale Coyne Racing cars of David Malukas and Sting Ray Robb which collided at Turn 7, allowing Scott McLaughlin and Romain Grosjean to pit for new front fenders.

On the restart of Lap 6, Palou held off Lundgaard, but Harvey lost to Rossi at the back straight after heavy tire lock-up in Turn 1. Further on, Newgarden passed Ericsson for seventh, while Will Power passed Marcus Armstrong for 12e. However, when Power attempted to take Kirkwood into Turn 1, he swept driver Andretti Autosport off the road and, as Kirkwood rejoined the track, he spun the champion’s Penske. This dropped Power to the back of the pack and earned Kirkwood a Race Control penalty which fell behind Power

Harvey’s flat tires meant he fell behind the three McLaren, Newgarden and Colton Herta on lap 11.

On lap 13, Palou was five seconds ahead of Lundgaard who was working hard to fend off Rossi. But the crossover regarding which tire was better came just a lap later; the reds started to leave, so Lundgaard closed in on Palou, while moving away from Rossi. Indeed, Palou and Rossi stopped on the 18th lap.

Perhaps surprisingly, Lundgaard stopped on lap 20, taking a set of substitutes, but he emerged two seconds behind Palou, while Rosenqvist and O’Ward went two more laps. On Lap 24, Lundgaard took a clean lead from Palou under braking in Turn 7, although team-mate Rahal – who had suffered damage in the opening laps and made two stops under yellow – was in the lead.

O’Ward on the substitutes passed Rossi in the primaries for fifth place in the 27th round. Meanwhile, RLL didn’t ask Rahal out of strategy to move for Lundgaard so the Dane was left in the dirty air and couldn’t take full advantage of his alternative tyres. until his teammate stopped on lap 31. He closed the gap to 2.8 seconds, but then Palou started to come back on him and by lap 40 Lundgaard’s lead was barely over. half a second.

O’Ward stopped from fourth to drop his reds for the primaries. Lundgaard lost the lead to Palou before he too entered the pits to grab a second set of reds, and emerged 26 seconds behind the leader, who then also stopped and emerged half a car length ahead of Lundgaard. But they were both behind O’Ward, for whom the undercut had worked perfectly.

It took the Ganassi driver a few tries to pass the McLaren but Palou made it on lap 45, then into Turn 1 on lap 46 Lundgaard rushed inside O’Ward to resume his pursuit of Palu. When the 2021 champion got past the Rahal strategy, this time Rahal allowed Lundgaard to pass.

Once Dixon – who had recovered well from his first lap frustration – made his second pit stop on lap 49, Palou (primaries) was left leading Lundgaard (substitutes) by 1.7s, with O’ Ward third on the primaries 2.5s behind, but 1.5s ahead of Rosenqvist (alternates) and 3.5 ahead of Rossi (primaries).

By lap 57, Palou had extended his lead to six seconds and O’Ward had passed Lundgaard, whose replacements were clearly on their way out. He stopped at the end of lap 59 to face a series of primaries for his final stint in this 85-lap race. In order not to be dropped in the danger zone in the event of a warning, Palou returned on lap 60, and he too faces the primaries. O’Ward went two more laps but took substitutions and went out between Palou and Lundgaard. Those three rolled forward on Lap 65 when Rossi and Dixon pulled over for their final stops, but it now looked easy for Palou, having pulled close to a second per lap on O’Ward to now hold a forward 10 seconds. Lundgaard on the primaries had to hope the reds went as he was now five seconds behind O’Ward and only a second ahead of Rossi, shod in substitutes.

Herta was hoping otherwise, as he would come under pressure from Rosenqvist, Dixon and maybe even Newgarden before the race was over.

Rossi passed Lundgaard, who was out of push-to-pass boost, into turn 7 on lap 76, and on lap 81 Herta was called off for blocking Rosenqvist and had to give up fifth, allowing the Swede to take the tail of fellow forward-row starter Lundgaard.

Palou won the race 16.8 seconds ahead of a 2-3-5 for Arrow McLaren, as Lundgaard managed to hold off Rosenqvist by less than half a second.

Herta fell back in the final laps allowing Dixon, Newgarden and Ericsson to crack the top eight. It was particularly solid rescue work from Dixon after first-lap problems, and from Newgarden on a day when Penske wasn’t even the fourth-fastest team.

P

Name

Towers

Difference

stopwatch

Pits

P2P

Directed

ST

Engine

Tire

Crew

1

Alex Palou

85

TOWER 85

1:13.0780

3

16

52

3

Honda

P

Chip Ganassi Racing

2

Pato O’Ward

85

16.8006

1:14.8518

3

7

2

5

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren

3

Alexandre Rossi

85

18.1448

1:14.5560

3

0

3

ten

Chevy

A

Arrow McLaren

4

Christian Lundgard

85

23.4801

1:13.8913

3

0

13

1

Honda

P

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

5

Felix Rosenqvist

85

23.9258

1:13.6866

3

0

3

2

Chevy

P

Arrow McLaren

6

Scott Dixon

85

25.5206

1:13.4487

3

7

3

9

Honda

P

Chip Ganassi Racing

7

Joseph Newgarden

85

26.3159

1:12.8665

3

0

13

Chevy

P

Team Penske

8

Marcus Ericsson

85

31.8308

1:12.8427

3

35

2

7

Honda

P

Chip Ganassi Racing

9

Colton’s Heart

85

38.4189

1:17.3244

3

0

14

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian

ten

Graham Rahal

85

48.8712

1:14.8029

4

185

7

8

Honda

P

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

11

Romain Grosjean

85

52.5732

1:13.5897

4

37

18

Honda

P

Andretti Autosport

12

Will

85

59.7698

1:13.5699

3

15

12

Chevy

P

Team Penske

13

Rinus VeeKay

85

67.0708

1:13.7998

3

31

17

Chevy

P

Ed Carpenter Race

14

Kyle Kirkwood

85

68.1940

1:14.0916

3

0

6

Honda

A

Andretti Autosport

16

Scott McLaughlin

85

83.6382

1:34.3866

5

51

16

Chevy

P

Team Penske

16

Scott McLaughlin

85

83.6382

1:34.3866

5

51

16

Chevy

P

Team Penske

17

Devlin De Francesco

84

1 TURNS

1:13.6809

3

0

15

Honda

P

Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport

18

Ilott Callum

84

1 TURNS

1:15.3450

4

2

24

Chevy

A

Juncos Hollinger Racing

19

Conor Daly

84

1 TURNS

1:17.4612

3

0

21

Chevy

A

Ed Carpenter Race

20

Jack Harvey

84

1 TURNS

1:17.3193

3

39

4

Honda

A

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

21

Augustin Canapino

84

1 TURNS

1:14.2292

3

14

25

Chevy

P

Juncos Holling Race

22

Helio Castroneves

84

1 TURNS

1:14.0003

3

0

26

Honda

P

Meyer Shank Racing

23

Santino Ferrucci

80

5 ROUNDS

1:14.5265

3

99

27

Chevy

P

AJ Foyt Enterprises

24

Benjamin Pedersen

79

6 TURNS

1:15.0169

4

200

23

Chevy

A

AJ Foyt Enterprises

25

Simon Pagenaud

58

Mechanical

1:37.7897

3

49

19

Honda

A

Meyer Shank Racing

26

David Malukas

2

Contact

13:03.983

1

187

20

Honda

A

Dale Coyne Racing with HMD

27

Sting Ray Robb

1

Contact

1:19.0267

200

22

Honda

P

Dale Coyne Racing with RWR

Leave a Comment