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Schmidt Peterson team carrying me early in IndyCar season - Wickens

IndyCar rookie Robert Wickens believes his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team has carried him through the early races of the 2018 season

Wickens, who has moved from the DTM to IndyCar, impressed on his series debut at St Petersburg and came within a lap of winning the race until contact with Alexander Rossi.

He then led laps in his first-ever oval race at Phoenix, until Josef Newgarden's strategic gamble meant the reigning champion passed him to win with just three laps remaining.

Despite his impressive start, Wickens said he was still leaning heavily on SPM for help.

"The team is doing such a great job getting me up to speed, they're carrying me," said Wickens.

"It goes from my team-mate with Hinch [James Hinchcliffe], both car crews, the #5 and #6, are doing such a strong job.

"James is taking the brunt of the work for us. He's the one basically setting up the car because he has a lot more oval experience than me.

"I'm doing the basic stuff, but he's taking the job list of the tough things.

"He's building us a great car. I'm just reaping the benefits of driving a well-balanced car. Hats off to him.

"I think it shows that we're a strong team here, the team is just doing a great job getting me going."

Video: Phoenix race analysis

Wickens explained that he watched previous Phoenix races in order to help make up for his oval inexperience.

"We tested here in February [at the open test]," he said. "That kind of got my eye in for the ovals a little bit.

"Then just simulator work, a lot of home studying. I think I watched Phoenix races from 2004 through the present, every onboard you could find, trying to figure out anything I could.

"I feel like there's always trends. If you watch stuff, you might find something. I watched one video of Tony Kanaan passing, like, 28 people on the outside after a restart [in 2005].

"I thought '[I'm] probably not going to try that one'."

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