NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RD. 7&8 – DETROIT GRAND PRIX (USA)
Felix Rosenqvist fell just short of a career-first IndyCar podium at this weekend’s double-header event on the streets of Detroit, the Swede experiencing a mix of highs and lows across two highly eventful races.
Rosenqvist quickly got up to speed on his first visit to the demanding Belle Isle street track, qualifying a strong fourth for the first of the weekend’s two races.
The Ganassi racer then ran in podium contention in treacherous conditions – a thunderstorm delaying the start by over an hour – as he treaded his way across the slippery Belle Isle concrete.
In the closing stages and on a by-now drying track, Rosenqvist found himself battling ex-F1 star Takuma Sato for third place, putting the Japanese under significant pressure. Sato put up an aggressive defense, however, and Rosenqvist eventually crossed the line a mere 0.4 seconds shy of a maiden podium finish. He was the only rookie inside the top ten.
Fourth place equaled Rosenqvist’s best result of the season so far.
“It was a good race overall, but it hurts to miss out on the podium by such a small margin,” Rosenqvist says. “I think we deserve a top three finish now; we’ve had the pace for it on so many occasions. Having said that, it was a really tricky race with a lot of drivers making mistakes in those conditions. I’m pleased to have brought the car home in one piece and to get a decent result out of it.”
Things would take a turn for the worse on Sunday, however, with Rosenqvist being forced to retire from Race 2 after crashing out with just five laps to go. The Swede was running seventh at the time, having staged a strong recovery after getting pitched airborne when squeezed between two rival drivers on the opening lap.
The Sunday race saw team-mate Scott Dixon seal the first win of the season for Chip Ganassi Racing, with Rosenqvist’s countryman Marcus Ericsson finishing in P2.
“It’s such a shame it ended the way it did,” Rosenqvist says. “It was probably the messiest race I’ve driven. It got off to a bad start when I got sandwiched on the first lap and the car bounced off the ground. It survived the impact really well thankfully, but I dropped the entire field. From there, it was a case of trying to claw back lost ground.
“We had great pace again in the #10 NTT DATA car and I managed to get several positions back. Then a few laps from home, I tagged the wall at Turn 11 and damaged the suspension, which then collapsed going into Turn 1. I’m upset with myself for making that mistake, but I know I will learn from it. Sorry to the team. Thankfully Scott managed to win it – he did a fantastic job today. Congratulations also to Marcus.”
The NTT IndyCar Series returns to action this coming Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.
RESULTS (TOP FIVE)
NTT IndyCar Series | Detroit Grand Prix
1: Josef Newgarden (USA), 43 laps
2: Alexander Rossi (USA), +0.823s
3: Takuma Sato (JPN), +11.476s
4: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +11.883s
5: Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA), +12.226s
1: Scott Dixon (NZL), 70 laps
2: Marcus Ericsson (SWE), +1.941s
3: Will Power (AUS), +3.657s
4: Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA), +4.523s
5: Alexander Rossi (USA), +5.187s
DNF: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +6 laps
STANDINGS (TOP FIVE)
NTT IndyCar Series | After 8/17 races
1: Josef Newgarden (USA), 316 p.
2: Alexander Rossi (USA), 301 p.
3: Simon Pagenaud (FRA), 291 p.
4: Scott Dixon (NZL), 264 p.
5: Takuma Sato (JPN), 255 p.
11: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 163 p.