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IndyCar Indy GP: Palou charges to first win of season and takes points lead

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou delivered a masterful drive to claim IndyCar victory in the Indy Grand Prix at Indianapolis and with it the championship lead.

Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Josh Tons / Motorsport Images

The reigning and two-time IndyCar Series champion handled getting behind early and utilised a sensational out-lap strategy to secure the lead and march to a 6.6106s victory.

Palou, who came in as the defending race winner, led 39 of the 85 laps en route to collecting his first win of the season and 10th of his IndyCar career. The victory vaulted Palou into the overall lead in the championship standings.

"A little mistake on that start, lost our first position there that we fight so hard in qualifying," Palou said.

"We just had to try and get the performance we had all weekend with the #10 DHL Honda car. It was an amazing win. It's great to be back-to-back from last year and we're gonna continue this one."

Team Penske’s Will Power finished second, with Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Christian Lundgaard, who led 35 laps, claiming third.

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon ended up fourth, ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Marcus Armstrong. Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin climbed from 13th to finish sixth, while Andretti Global’s Colton Herta charged from an early incident and a 24th-place start to grab seventh.

Arrow McLaren’s Alexander Rossi, who endured an engine change after the morning warm-up, came home eighth. Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) and Felix Rosenqvist (Meyer Shank Racing) rounded out the rest of the top 10.

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Although Palou started on pole, he went wide into Turn 1 and left the door open for Lundgaard to squeeze by and grab the lead.

While the start was straightforward for the majority of the frontrunners, it stacked up behind with a melee of cars going off in the opening corner.

The start also featured contact between Andretti Global team-mates as Marcus Ericsson and Herta, who started 21st and 24th respectively. Running side-by-side, the two touched, which sent Herta off briefly, while Ericsson was forced to give up five positions after being penalised for the contact.

There was also a continuation of the building rivalry between Romain Grosjean and Santino Ferrucci, with the two tangling again in Turn 11 while battling for 17th on the second lap. This time, though, Ferrucci pushed wide and Grosjean was forced off into the grass in Turn 12.

At the front, Power went for the undercut on lap 18, trading the harder primary tyres for a fresh set of softer alternates. Lundgaard and Palou came in together on lap 20, with Lundgaard swapping primaries for used alternates, with Palou trading used alternates for used primaries.

The out-lap for the two was led by Lundgaard, but Palou came under fire as Power came roaring behind and then past to take second in Turn 7 on lap 21.

The top three remained close until the next series of pitstops, which saw Power once again the first to dive in for service on lap 40 and take a used set of alternates, while Lundgaard pitted the following lap for used primaries. Palou stayed out for an additional lap to go for the overcut and took used alternates, which worked as he took the lead after the pitstops cycled out.

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

Meanwhile, Power fell to third behind Lundgaard with the lapped car of Ericsson temporarily between the two.

But it didn't last for long as Power, who swapped to used alternates on lap 62, was able to leapfrog Lundgaard – on fresh alternates – during the stop and move to second.

The first caution of the day came out with 20 laps to go for Dale Coyne Racing’s Luca Ghiotto stalled on track.

This set up a restart with 17 lap to go, with Palou leading Power, Lundgaard and Dixon, while Herta made the most of the restart to climb from ninth to seventh.

But out front, Palou managed to stretch his lead to over 5s and remained untroubled in the sprint to the finish.

IndyCar Indy Grand Prix - Race results

   
1
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4
   
   
1
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2
   
Cla Driver # Laps Time Interval Mph Pits Points Retirement
1 Spain A. Palou Chip Ganassi Racing 10 85

1:45'27.2320

  122.793 3    
2 Australia W. Power Team Penske 12 85

+6.6106

1:45'33.8426

6.6106 120.920 3    
3 Denmark C. Lundgaard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 45 85

+8.0900

1:45'35.3220

1.4794 121.489 3    
4 New Zealand S. Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 9 85

+13.4262

1:45'40.6582

5.3362 120.291 3    
5 New Zealand M. Armstrong Chip Ganassi Racing 11 85

+13.8978

1:45'41.1298

0.4716 120.255 3    
6 New Zealand S. McLaughlin Team Penske 3 85

+14.2746

1:45'41.5066

0.3768 120.904 3    
7 United States C. Herta Andretti Global with Curb-Agajanian 26 85

+18.8554

1:45'46.0874

4.5808 121.683 3    
8 United States A. Rossi Arrow McLaren 7 85

+20.1638

1:45'47.3958

1.3084 121.093 3    
9 United States G. Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 15 85

+22.1556

1:45'49.3876

1.9918 119.865 3    
10 Sweden F. Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Racing 60 85

+26.3424

1:45'53.5744

4.1868 120.943 3    
11 United States K. Kirkwood Andretti Global 27 85

+27.4572

1:45'54.6892

1.1148 119.935 3    
12 France R. Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Racing 77 85

+29.3108

1:45'56.5428

1.8536 120.950 3    
13 Mexico P. O'Ward Arrow McLaren 5 85

+31.2388

1:45'58.4708

1.9280 120.358 3    
14 Brazil P. Fittipaldi Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 30 85

+31.8872

1:45'59.1192

0.6484 120.441 3    
15 United States K. Simpson Chip Ganassi Racing 4 85

+32.2895

1:45'59.5215

0.4023 120.840 3    
16 Sweden M. Ericsson Andretti Global 28 85

+34.6582

1:46'01.8902

2.3687 120.059 3    
17 France T. Pourchaire Arrow McLaren 6 85

+36.5679

1:46'03.7999

1.9097 117.977 3    
18 United States J. Newgarden Team Penske 2 85

+36.9649

1:46'04.1969

0.3970 117.772 3    
19 United Kingdom J. Harvey Dale Coyne Racing 18 85

+38.0124

1:46'05.2444

1.0475 119.954 3    
20
C. Rasmussen Ed Carpenter Racing
20 85

+39.4219

1:46'06.6539

1.4095 118.846 3    
21 Argentina A. Canapino Juncos Hollinger Racing 78 84

+1 Lap

1:45'45.1182

1 Lap 121.629 3    
22
R. Robb A.J. Foyt Enterprises
41 84

+1 Lap

1:45'52.9639

7.8457 121.031 3    
23 United Kingdom T. Blomqvist Meyer Shank Racing 66 84

+1 Lap

1:45'55.0611

2.0972 120.914 4    
24 Sweden L. Lundqvist Chip Ganassi Racing 8 84

+1 Lap

1:46'00.9419

5.8808 120.525 3    
25 Italy L. Ghiotto Dale Coyne Racing 51 84

+1 Lap

1:46'07.4016

6.4597 119.213 3    
26 Netherlands R. van Kalmthout Ed Carpenter Racing 21 84

+1 Lap

1:46'13.0203

5.6187 120.414 5    
27 United States S. Ferrucci A.J. Foyt Enterprises 14 55

+30 Laps

1:10'12.3291

29 Laps 49.087 3   Mechanical

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