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Lundgaard “Happy to be disappointed” with first podium of IndyCar season

IndyCar podium finisher Christian Lundgaard wanted more but was “happy to be disappointed” by finishing third in Saturday’s race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course.

Christian Lundgaard, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

The 22-year-old Dane made the most of a front row start by jumping into the lead over pole-sitter Alex Palou at the start and appeared in control of the 85-lap contest in the early going.

Everything changed, though, following the second round of pit stops.

Lundgaard pitted his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda on lap 40, exchanging softer alternate tyres for a set of scuffed harder primaries.

Palou went for the overcut and pitted the next lap opted for the opposite tyre strategy -- switching his No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda to scuffed alternates from the harder compound – and then came away with the lead once everything cycled out.

Despite his best efforts, Lundgaard could not return the No. 45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda back to the top spot. In fact, he was leapfrogged by Team Penske’s Will Power on the next pit stop on lap 62.

Lundgaard couldn’t regain the early pace that netted him the lead and was left collecting his first podium of the 2024 season.

“Happy to be disappointed,” said Lundgaard, who led 35 laps.

“I think that's becoming an expression in the RLL engineering truck. Sometimes we're just happy to be disappointed. I'm proud of the team.

“We qualified well at Barber, and I think considering how we handled Long Beach, in terms of strategy, trying to get too much out of what I think we could have hurt us on the pure result. Going into Barber, it was a pure strategy of just get through the race and make sure that we get a good result, and coming here, there was a minimum, which was a podium.

“We got it, but I wanted it to be a win.”

 

Lundgaard admitted there wasn’t a strong option during the second pit stop move to the primary tyres, with the only other option also being a set of used alternates.

“Honestly, I think we were quite competitive on out laps,” said Lundgaard.

“I think the reds were the preferred tyres today, but going into the race, I think everybody was in the unknown. I think everybody had a question mark, is it going to be 50/50 or 70/30 in terms of one compound being preferred. I knew my options, my other alternate tyres were pretty used, so the alternative was using those and hoping they would last.

“I chose the sticker primaries because we were one of the most competitive cars in qualifying on blacks, on the primary tyres. I didn't see a reason why not to use them.”

Then Lundgaard closed with a simple statement: “But I think Alex was just fast today. He was fast here last year in May, in August. He's fast wherever we go, really.”

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