Palou dominates Indy GP, McLaughlin and Power struggle

Alex Palou won the Indy GP

Alex Palou won the Indy GP

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou has taken a big victory in the IndyCar GP while both Scott McLaughlin and Will Power struggled.

In a battle of strategy, Palou proved he had the speed in his #10 Honda and his crew had the smarts to prevail by 16.8006s after 85 laps around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s infield road course, taking over the series lead in the process.

The McLaren IndyCar Team got a double podium, with Pato O’Ward (#5 Chevrolet) second and Alexander Rossi (#7 Chevrolet) third, the latter’s best result so far since his off-season move.

Stan Sport is the only way to watch every round of the INDYCAR SERIES. Click here for all the action streaming ad-free, live and on demand.

Pole-sitter Christian Lundgaard clung on to fourth in the end in the #45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda, with Felix Rosenqvist (#6 Chevrolet) making it all three McLaren cars in the top five.

Scott Dixon (#9 Ganassi Honda) did as Scott Dixon does, finishing sixth in the IndyCar Grand Prix despite dropping to 16th on the opening lap, and Josef Newgarden (#2 Team Penske Chevrolet) came from 13th on the grid to finish seventh, while Power finished 12th and McLaughlin 16th.

Stan Sport is the only way to watch every round of the IndyCar Series. Click here for all the action streaming ad-free, live and on demand.

A day earlier, Lundgaard had qualified on pole position for the first time, and he jumped well at the green flag, but so did Palou from Row 2.

Despite starting on primary tyres versus alternates, Lundgaard held him at bay at Turn 1, but ceded the position at the final corner of the circuit.

A Caution was called on Lap 2 after Sting Ray Robb (#51 DCR w/ RWR Honda) tagged Dale Coyne Racing team-mate David Malukas (#18 DCR w/ HMD Motorsports Honda) back in the pack at Turn 7.

Under yellow, it was Palou from Lundgaard, Jack Harvey (#30 RLLR Honda, blacks), Rossi (reds), Rosenqvist (blacks), O’Ward (blacks), Marcus Ericsson (#8 Ganassi Honda, blacks), Newgarden (reds), Colton Herta (#26 Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda, reds), and Kyle Kirkwood (#27 Andretti Honda, blacks).

Dixon (reds) was 16th, with both McLaughlin (#3 Penske Chevrolet, reds) and Romain Grosjean (#28 Andretti Honda, reds) outside the top 20 after losing ground on the opening lap and using the Caution to pit.

The restart came on Lap 6 and so began Harvey’s slide down the order as he was picked off by those on reds.

Power (#12 Penske Chevrolet), who started 12th, tried to likewise overtake Kirkwood for 10th at the start of Lap 7 but was turned around by the Andretti driver at Turn 2.

Power plummeted to 24th but Kirkwood soon joined him outside the top 20 when he was deemed guilty and issued a position drop penalty, to behind the aggrieved Queenslander.

Up front, Palou and third-placed Rossi pitted on Lap 17 to swap from reds to blacks from about five seconds apart.

Lundgaard was showing good enough pace and much better longevity on blacks but caught traffic and was called into the lane on Lap 20 to switch to reds.

Once all had stopped, at least once, Graham Rahal (#15 RLLR Honda) led but was off-sequence after copping a puncture in the cut and thrust of the opening lap.

Palou ran second but was passed for the effective lead by Lundgaard on Lap 24 at Turn 7, with Rosenqvist a couple of seconds back in his first red stint.

O’Ward got by team-mate Rossi at the same spot on Lap 27 before Rahal did pit again on Lap 31.

It put Lundgaard into the official lead from Palou, Rosenqvist, O’Ward (reds), Rossi (blacks), Newgarden (blacks), Herta (blacks), Ericsson (reds), Rinus VeeKay (#21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, reds), and Devlin DeFrancesco (#29 Andretti Honda, reds), with Dixon (blacks) 12th, Grosjean (blacks) 13th, McLaughlin (reds) 14th, and Power (blacks) 20th.

O’Ward had started the stint on used reds and was seriously struggling by the time he pitted for a set of blacks on Lap 39, while Lundgaard had got out to almost a three-second lead over Palou but was being reeled in by the 2021 champion once his reds started to wear out.

Palou made the pass at Turn 1 on Lap 42 and was a second up by the end of the lap, when Lundgaard stopped for more reds, albeit a used set.

Palou pitted himself, for another set of blacks, and rejoined between O’Ward and Lundgaard, all nose-to-tail, before the two former leaders got by the #5 McLaren on Laps 45 and 46.

Once Dixon pitted on Lap 48, Palou was back into the lead, by a full second, from Lundgaard, an off-sequence Rahal, O’Ward, Rossi (blacks), Rosenqvist (reds), Newgarden (blacks), Herta (reds), Ericsson (reds), and Dixon (reds), with Grosjean (blacks) 13th, McLaughlin (blacks) 15th, and Power (blacks) 18th.

Lundgaard had to persevere on his used reds but had drifted to six seconds behind Palou when O’Ward picked him off on Lap 57 at Turn 7.

The pole-sitter was 10 seconds from the lead when he pitted on Lap 59, before Palou took his final stop on Lap 60.

O’Ward ran two laps longer until he was into the lane from the official lead, rejoining between Palou and Lundgaard again.

It set up a fascinating run home because Palou had only scuffed blacks left for the final stint, O’Ward necessarily had to take new reds to obey the sporting regulations, and Lundgaard had started the stint on new blacks.

UPDATE: Palou advised post-race that he was also on new blacks for the final stint

When the final pit cycle wrapped up with 20 laps to go, Palou led by almost 10 seconds over O’Ward and another five over Lundgaard, with Rossi fourth on used reds, from Herta, Rosenqvist, Dixon, Newgarden, Kirkwood, and Ericsson in 10th, the latter five all on blacks.

McLaughlin was 12th, Grosjean 13th, and Power 16th, with those three on blacks also.

Despite a theoretical tyre advantage, Lundgaard was not moving forward and instead came under pressure from Rossi.

With 10 laps to go, he had used up all of his push-to-pass and was a sitting duck for the #7 McLaren pilot at Turn 7 on Lap 76.

Rosenqvist dived past Herta for sixth at the same spot on Lap 80 and while he ran long, the Andretti driver was called for blocking and forced to cede the position anyway.

Palou, meanwhile, continued to increase his gap and pull off a dominant victory, his first of the year.

Herta’s slide down the order continued and he would take the chequered flag in ninth, one spot behind Ericsson, with Rahal getting home 10th, then Grosjean and Power.

McLaughlin had been running 11th when he pitted with a lap to go and was classified 16th.

UPDATE: McLaughlin ran out of fuel

Practice for the Indianapolis 500 starts on Tuesday morning (local time; Tuesday night AEST).

Every IndyCar race is streamed live and ad-free on Stan Sport.

Results: Race, Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course)

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Race time/Split Pit stops Status Grid pos
1 10 Alex Palou D/H/F 1:47:56.7003 3 Running 3
2 5 Pato O’Ward D/C/F +16.8006 3 Running 5
3 7 Alexander Rossi D/C/F +18.1448 3 Running 10
4 45 Christian Lundgaard D/H/F +23.4801 3 Running 1
5 6 Felix Rosenqvist D/C/F +23.9258 3 Running 2
6 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F +25.5206 3 Running 9
7 2 Josef Newgarden D/C/F +26.3159 3 Running 13
8 8 Marcus Ericsson D/H/F +31.8308 3 Running 7
9 26 Colton Herta D/H/F +38.4189 3 Running 14
10 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F +48.8712 4 Running 8
11 28 Romain Grosjean D/H/F +52.5732 4 Running 18
12 12 Will Power D/C/F +59.7698 3 Running 12
13 21 Rinus VeeKay D/C/F +1:07.0708 3 Running 17
14 27 Kyle Kirkwood D/H/F +1:08.1940 3 Running 6
15 11 Marcus Armstrong D/H/F +1:15.8499 3 Running 11
16 3 Scott McLaughlin D/C/F +1:23.6382 5 Running 16
17 29 Devlin DeFrancesco D/H/F +1 lap 3 Running 15
18 77 Callum Ilott D/C/F +1 lap 4 Running 24
19 20 Conor Daly D/C/F +1 lap 3 Running 21
20 30 Jack Harvey D/H/F +1 lap 3 Running 4
21 78 Agustin Canapino D/C/F +1 lap 3 Running 25
22 06 Helio Castroneves D/H/F +1 lap 3 Running 26
23 14 Santino Ferrucci D/C/F +5 laps 3 Running 27
24 55 Benjamin Pedersen D/C/F +6 laps 3 Running 23
25 60 Simon Pagenaud D/H/F +27 laps 3 Mechanical 19
26 18 David Malukas D/H/F +83 laps 0 Contact 20
27 51 Sting Ray Robb D/H/F +84 laps 0 Contact 22

Race winner: 85 laps

Series points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Alex Palou 174
2 Pato O’Ward 168
3 Marcus Ericsson 155
4 Romain Grosjean 134
5 Scott McLaughlin 133
6 Josef Newgarden 131
7 Scott Dixon 127
8 Will Power 122
9 Christian Lundgaard 111
10 Kyle Kirkwood 108
11 Alexander Rossi 108
12 Colton Herta 107
13 Felix Rosenqvist 97
14 Callum Ilott 92
15 Graham Rahal 86
16 David Malukas 79
17 Marcus Armstrong 77
18 Rinus VeeKay 64
19 Agustin Canapino 56
20 Helio Castroneves 53
21 Jack Harvey 53
22 Santino Ferrucci 51
23 Simon Pagenaud 50
24 Conor Daly 49
25 Devlin DeFrancesco 46
26 Sting Ray Robb 42
27 Benjamin Pedersen 40
28 Ed Carpenter 17
29 Takuma Sato 5

Join the discussion below in the comments section

Please note: reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]