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How Palou managed the final restart to win the IndyCar Indy GP

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou shared the tense moment of handling the restart that aided his path to victory in Saturday’s Indy Grand Prix.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

The Spaniard was in pursuit early on after faltering away his start from pole, but regained the advantage with an overcut pit strategy on the second series of pit stops which propelled him into the lead on lap 45 of 85.

However, a restart on lap 68 left Palou with the daunting task of fending off Team Penske’s Will Power heading through the wide Turn 1 of Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile course.

“He got a really good restart,” said Palou, the reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion. 

“He had a shorter first gear than we did, so his jump was actually a little bit better than mine, and on top of that, he had my tow. I just saw it coming, and I had to defend. I didn't want to give the lead back.

“I thought it was the best thing that we could have done at that moment.”

Palou also noted how the racing line heading into the corner was slippery, which was a similar feeling that also impacted him losing the lead at the start of the race.

“Yes, especially with all the pickup that we had that late into the race,” said Palou, who led a race-high 39 laps.

“Even at the beginning, at the start, I got some pickup that probably didn't help with my braking. Yeah, I got a ton of pickup and it actually took me until Turn 7 to take everything out from the front right.”

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet
Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet
Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
start

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet Pato O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet Marcus Armstrong, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda start

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

The new points leader

By virtue of scoring his first points-paying race of the season, Palou took over the championship lead and now holds a 12-point advantage over Power.

When asked by Autosport if he feels like he and the team have taken a step forward from their championship form from last year, Palou added: “According to them (the team), every time I ask, they took it to the next level.

“Hopefully we can have a little bit more speed from the car. They've been working really, really hard, and even myself who doesn't really understand too much about mechanics, I can see the differences on the car.

“Having that said, I think a lot of people caught and made big steps as we saw in the testing that we had a couple of months ago. Yeah, focusing on us, we did a lot of work, and I think that we'll have faster cars, but at the same time, I think there's other teams that will catch up.”

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