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IndyCar champion Palou "far enough that it's painful” from being complete driver

Recently crowned two-time IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou believes he is "not super far" from being a complete driver, although he is far enough away "that it's painful".

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing

Palou dominated the 2023 IndyCar season, scoring five wins, 10 podiums and two poles en route to his second title, which he secured with a round to spare.

Despite this, Palou remains critical of his own performances and dismissed the notion that he is a complete driver.

“It's not super far, but it's far enough that it's painful,” Palou said.

“Once I finished my Gateway race [in seventh], I was like, 'Man, I wish I could just go again and do it again.'

“I learned so much. Every race I finish, I learn a lot. But I'm not that close. I'm not as close as I would like to be.”

Palou took pole for the 107th running of the Indianapolis 500 this term but his hopes of victory disappeared when he was caught up in a mid-race incident involving Rinus Veekay.

Identifying ovals as an area for improvement, the Spaniard added: “I need to win an oval race.

“It's easy, man. It's simple to know what we can improve.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

“My oval skills, I would say they improved a lot. I got two podiums this year. P4 here at IMS [Indianapolis Motor Speedway]. We got to pole here. But still, we haven't won. When we are at the race, we are not fighting for the win.

“We get to the podium and it's like a win for us. So, I need to get there.”

Although Palou yearns for an oval victory, it isn’t such a desperation he would trade either of his championships for glory in the Indianapolis 500.

“No, absolutely not,” he clarified. “Yes, that's what I will put most of my effort to get, but I would never trade a championship for the Indy 500.

“I love the Indy 500. I know how special it is for everybody. It's super special for me as well, but I think it's only a one-off race.

“I've been around like the top three or four cars or drivers or teams, in general, to win the race and we didn't because of this or that. Some others have just been lucky on the last stint of the race.

"I know the importance of it. I want to win it, but I would not trade a full year of being the best for just the one day of being the best.”

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