Herta surpasses father’s tally with Laguna Seca win
Monday 20th September, 2021 - 7:45am
Colton Herta has edged ahead of his father Bryan Herta’s win tally in the IndyCar Series with victory in the Grand Prix of Monterey.
The Andretti Autosport pilot dominated proceedings at Laguna Seca to claim his fifth career win at just 21 years old.
With second place, IndyCar Series points leader Alex Palou (Chip Ganassi Racing) took another step closer to his maiden crown as he stretched his advantage to 35 points.
Josef Newgarden, who finished seventh, remains in contention for the title – albeit, 48 points in arrears.
Finishes of sixth for Marcus Ericsson and 13th for Scott Dixon saw the Chip Ganassi Racing duo eliminated from the title race.
For Herta, it marked successive wins at Laguna Seca after winning on the category’s return in 2019.
“I’m just happy to have done it,” said Herta.
“This place is so awesome. It’s my favourite track in North America by far and to win here means so much.”
At the start, Herta got the holeshot into Turn 1 despite a challenge from team-mate Alexander Rossi.
Further afield, McLaren SP driver Felix Rosenqvist spun on his own out of Turn 3.
At the end of Lap 1 it was Herta who led Rossi, Will Power (Team Penske), Palou, Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing), Pato O’Ward (McLaren SP), Marcus Ericsson (Chip Ganassi Racing), Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske), Oliver Askew (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), and Romain Grosjean (Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing).
Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin made a stellar start, surging from 16th to 11th by the close of the first lap.
A mistake by Herta on Lap 2 saw him drop a wheel out of Turn 4 allowing Rossi to mount a challenge into Turn 5.
However, as they navigated the fast left-hander, Rossi got loose and made contact with Herta, sending Rossi into a spin.
With Rossi stalled, a brief yellow flag period interrupted proceedings, which would resume on Lap 5.
Drama struck on lap 10 for second placed Will Power who pitted with an engine issue, taking him out of contention.
Herta soon stretched his legs out to an eight-second advantage before Palou pitted on Lap 17.
Once the pit stop sequence cycled through, Herta’s advantage fell from eight seconds to three.
Herta and Palou found themselves out in clear air at the head of the field and established a sizable advantage at the front, third placed O’Ward some 25 seconds adrift.
Dixon’s day was hampered when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Takuma Sato spun at the corkscrew, rolling back into the path of the six-time champion.
The pair duly made contact, though both managed to continue on. Sato would later retire from the race on Lap 83.
Come two-thirds of the way, it was still Herta who led Palou with O’Ward a distant third.
Ericsson, Rahal, Pagenaud, Grosjean, Oliver Askew, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and McLaughlin completed the top 10.
Palou made his final stop with 30 laps to go and was soon followed in by Herta.
The final stanza was an uneventful affair for the frontrunners. Herta came upon lapped traffic and had his four-second lead sliced to just half a second.
However, Palou showed no signs of mounting a challenge for the win.
Instead, it was Grosjean who ran long into the race and pitted late who would make the most headway.
He surged to third by the close of play, surviving an airborne moment at the Corkscrew as he and the lapped car of Jimmie Johnson made contact.
In the end, Herta crossed the line to claim a 1.9-second win over Palou. Grosjean’s late push saw him come home 3.7 seconds adrift of Herta for his third podium of the season.
Rahal was a solid fourth while O’Ward finished fifth, keeping himself in contention for the title.
Ericsson, Newgarden, Pagenaud, Askew, and Ed Jones (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan) completed the top 10.
McLaughlin put a pass on Dixon late in the piece to claim 12th while Power finished 26th and two laps down.
The 2021 IndyCar Series will come to a close on the streets of Long Beach next weekend.
Results: IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Monterey
|1||26||Colton Herta||95||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|2||10||Alex Palou||95||1.9747||1.9747||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|3||51||Romain Grosjean||95||3.7087||1.734||Honda||Dale Coyne Racing w/RWR|
|4||15||Graham Rahal||95||13.8616||10.1529||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|5||5||Pato O’Ward||95||24.6972||10.8356||Chevy||Arrow McLaren SP|
|6||8||Marcus Ericsson||95||28.5032||3.806||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|7||2||Josef Newgarden||95||29.7267||1.2235||Chevy||Team Penske|
|8||22||Simon Pagenaud||95||30.4215||0.6948||Chevy||Team Penske|
|9||45||Oliver Askew||95||32.4675||2.046||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|
|10||18||Ed Jones||95||47.9944||15.5269||Honda||Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan|
|11||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||95||67.1843||19.1899||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|12||3||Scott McLaughlin||95||73.494||6.3097||Chevy||Team Penske|
|13||9||Scott Dixon||95||76.3595||2.8655||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|14||14||Sebastien Bourdais||94||1 Lap||12.5852||Chevy||AJ Foyt Enterprises|
|15||60||Jack Harvey||94||1 Lap||2.7203||Honda||Meyer Shank Racing|
|16||20||Conor Daly||94||1 Lap||0.3807||Chevy||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|17||48||Jimmie Johnson||94||1 Lap||5.348||Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing|
|18||21||Rinus VeeKay||94||1 Lap||5.6846||Chevy||Ed Carpenter Racing|
|19||7||Felix Rosenqvist||94||1 Lap||3.2007||Chevy||Arrow McLaren SP|
|20||29||James Hinchcliffe||94||1 Lap||4.5092||Honda||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport|
|21||59||Max Chilton||94||1 Lap||1.9156||Chevy||Carlin|
|22||77||Callum Ilott||94||1 Lap||15.8894||Chevy||Juncos Hollinger Racing|
|23||4||Dalton Kellett||94||1 Lap||9.0069||Chevy||AJ Foyt Enterprises|
|24||6||Helio Castroneves||94||1 Lap||0.545||Honda||Meyer Shank Racing|
|25||27||Alexander Rossi||93||2 Laps||26.7355||Honda||Andretti Autosport|
|26||12||Will Power||93||2 Lasp||58.9715||Chevy||Team Penske|
|27||30||Takuma Sato||83||Mechanical||Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing|