McLaughlin hails ‘most complete’ IndyCar victory

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin has ranked his fourth IndyCar win as his most complete after taking to Victory Lane at the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix.

The New Zealander registered his first success of the season to move up to fourth in the drivers’ standings after a race-long strategic battle with Romain Grosjean.

“It feels awesome,” said McLaughlin. “I think we’ve had the pace (all season).

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“Obviously, St. Pete we were strong and were contending for the wins, maybe not in Texas, but Long Beach, we were right there.

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“I was really proud to execute that. It was the most complete race I’ve driven in and IndyCar, to be honest, from a strategy perspective, picking people off.

“It was getting pretty tough there in the middle when we were making passes and lapping traffic.

“And then, ultimately, when Grosjean got me out of the pits, he caught me napping. It was a great move by him and I sort of had to just reset, go again and pass him with the pace that we had.”

On a three-stop strategy against Grosjean’s two-stop plan, McLaughlin exited the pits for the final time narrowly ahead of the Frenchman in a scenario that instantly sparked memories of the pair’s controversial incident at the St. Petersburg season-opener.

Report: McLaughlin wins in Alabama.

Although the pair ‘kissed’ tyres, as Grosjean retook the lead within a lap, the McLaughlin kept it clean as he steered his Penske Chevrolet back to the front with 18 laps remaining.

“I knew if I hit him this time it would be bad,” McLaughlin joked.

“We were racing just like we normally do, very clean.

“It was hard. I knew it was going to be hard to pass him. It was a matter of me biding my time and eventually, I asked the guys, ‘Where are we at on fuel?’. We had a bit more than him so it allowed me to pressure him a bit more and maybe use a bit more overtake.

“Ultimately, that’s what helped me pass him.

“I knew the way I got the run up into Turn 8 was purely by push to pass and I was able to save that. Once we got to the front, it was just a matter of managing it to the end.”

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