Trevor Carlin, who ran Colton Herta in his junior formula days in Europe, has no hesitation in ranking the youngster with McLaren’s Formula 1 rookie Lando Norris in terms of raw talent, although he felt Herta was harder on tyres when they were team-mates.
That trait came to light a few times in Herta’s first season in IndyCar, notably at Road America and Portland, both of which he started from pole position but finished off the podium. But successful tyre management was also one of the keys to the Harding Steinbrenner Racing driver’s victory on the abrasive Laguna Seca surface, so you have to conclude the boy learned well.
That was his second victory of the year, as he had taken full advantage of Will Power and Alexander Rossi getting wrong-footed by full-course yellows at Austin to become the youngest-ever winner of an IndyCar race. For Herta to become a title contender next year with Andretti Autosport ‘proper’, improved consistency is all he needs. He already has the pace, intelligence and aggression to become a champion.