De Silvestro’s rollercoaster ride to Indy 500 berth

It’s official: Simona De Silvestro and Paretta Autosport are in the 2021 Indianapolis 500. Get an insight into the intense qualifying experience in the first of seven Brick by Brick with Simona exclusive columns for Speedcafe.com, presented by Chevrolet.

We’re in!

What an incredible feeling to have qualified for the Indianapolis 500 with Beth and all the crew at Paretta Autosport.

To officially be in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing for the sixth time, I’m just so happy. It’s such an amazing event and with so many talented drivers and teams.

But it wasn’t easy, that’s for sure.

During the first few practice sessions, up until Thursday, I was super happy with the #16 Rocket Pro TPO Chevrolet but for whatever reason, we kind of struggled in qualifying trim.

We threw everything at qualifying to make it through in the top 30. The crew did a really good job to get us out for some late runs but the balance just wasn’t there, the car was a bit oversteery and we had to go into that dreaded Last Chance session on Sunday.

It was so nerve-racking!

The unique thing about Indy is not everyone makes the race so that definitely crossed my mind because only three out of the five of us could get through.

It was not a nice time, a lot of pressure, knowing how hard everyone had worked and it could all come to nothing.

But I had full faith in the team that we could get the job done.

Simona De Silvestro celebrates making the field for the 2021 Indianapolis 500. Picture: Joe Skibinski

The balance was better in Practice 7, we just had to be fast enough and we were… even if it was hard sitting in the car when Charlie went out for that final run which could have bumped us and you have no control over that.

We were ready to go again for sure, I think we would have just had time, but thankfully we didn’t have to and now we know for sure we’re in the race.

We’ll be starting from 33rd. Super happy. We’re on the back row with another Team Penske car with Will Power as well as Sage Karam and anything can happen in the race. 200 laps around this place is a long way!

We did another 46 laps in for Practice 8 and we’ll keep tuning up the car and see how it feels on Carb Day (Friday).

Hopefully we have a good race car and some stars align and we can move forward.

It’s also so good that we can hopefully keep inspiring girls with the team Beth has put together.

I’m super proud of what we’ve done so far and I can’t wait for what’s to come.

Catch you tomorrow for my second column!

Sim

De Silvestro (left) and Beth Paretta. Picture: Joe Skibinski

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