‘The hard part was done by my crew’ – Palou on Indy GP win

Alex Palou, who scored his 10th IndyCar win in Saturday’s Sonsio Grand Prix on the Indianapolis road course, says, “The hard part was done by my crew,” in his drive to victory.

Although he started from pole position and on the softer Firestone alternate tires, Chip Ganassi Racing’s two-time champion slightly outbraked himself at Turn 1 on lap one, allowing fellow front-row starter Christian Lundgaard to drive his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda into the lead.

Then when he switched to primaries at his first stop, Palou also lost out to Team Penske ace Will Power, who had stopped a lap earlier and switched to alternates, allowing him to put in a fast out lap and jump the Ganassi No. 10 car.


However, running a lap longer than his rivals, a fast in-lap and swift work by his crew saw Palou emerge in front, after which he controlled the pace and survived the sole restart when Power tried to attack him at Turn 1.

“Honestly, it wasn’t a great start from my side,” said Palou, who has now taken the championship lead. “[I made] a mistake, overshot the braking a little bit and just locked and lost that place, went into the grass a little bit. Wasn’t my best start, but I was just looking forward to getting that back and trying to get the lead back.

“But then we lost another place, I think on the first stint with Power. We were on the blacks, the primaries at that time. Honestly, our pace was a lot better than I thought on the primaries. We were able to stay with them. They [Lundgaard and Power] pitted early. We overcut them both, and from that point, we stayed in the lead.

“I would say that today the hard part was done by my crew, the No. 10 crew, my engineers and my mechanics, on getting that first position back. I just had to control from the lead.”

Regarding retaining the lead at the restart, Palou said, “It wasn’t easy. It’s a very big straight. If you look, I would say that it’s probably the biggest straight that we have, and it’s worse for restarts because it’s easy to get a tow. I also had a longer first gear than Power did, so when I went on throttle, he had the bigger jump than myself because my first gear was so tall. Wasn’t great but kept the lead there, did my job, and yeah, we were able to finish up front.”

Palou later added: “I give all the kudos to my team for giving me fast cars. Without the fast car I had in qualifying, I could have qualified P17 and had a terrible weekend. I don’t think it’s all me. I’m just a passenger sometimes in that car.

“We won last year, so we are obviously… we have the best team. I don’t think that there’s huge differences in terms of performance, but there’s really big differences in terms of executing, and my team is the best at executing and getting 100 percent or sometimes 101 percent of what we have every single weekend.”

The Spaniard also praised young teammate Marcus Armstrong who scored his best result of his nascent IndyCar career with a fifth place in the wheeltracks of another Ganassi car, that of Dixon.

“I think [Armstrong] has been working very hard and he’s been knocking on that door a lot,” said Palou. “Still hasn’t had the perfect weekend where everything fits for him, but he’s been really fast. Even last year here in August, I think he qualified seventh, and unfortunately I took him out on the first lap.

“He’s been really good. At Barber he went into the Fast Six, was the only car of the team in the Fast Six, and it’s great that he got his first top five. I’m sure that he will have a couple of wins this year.”

Story originally appeared on Racer