NTT INDYCAR SERIES
RD. 6 – INDIANAPOLIS 500 (USA)
Felix Rosenqvist enjoyed an emphatic rise through the pack in his first-ever Indy 500 on Sunday, but was ultimately forced out of the American oval classic with just 24 laps to go following a multi-car crash.
The blue-riband event of the NTT IndyCar Series was red-flagged on lap 176 of 200 when Graham Rahal and Sebastien Bourdais made contact at 350 km/h, taking both out of the race and triggering a chain-reaction of destruction behind.
Rosenqvist was one of several drivers to be caught up in the melee as he tried to take evasive action, retiring on the spot as his Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara hit the wall.
The Swedish IndyCar rookie was examined at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway medical centre, but was quickly released and escaped without injury.
Having started his first-ever IndyCar oval race from 29th on the grid, Rosenqvist enjoyed a highly competitive day at the Brickyard on Sunday, combining an efficient strategy with strong pace to rise through the pack into top ten contention.
He was running as the leading rookie at the time of his race-ending crash, and also led the Indy 500 for six laps – more than any other first-timer – as pit stop strategies cycled through.
“It’s a big shame this happened, because the feeling inside the car was great and I really thought we were getting stronger and stronger as the race evolved,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “I came down the backstretch into Turn 3 and suddenly there was chaos. I tried to avoid the slowing #60 car ahead and was forced around him on the outside, but it was just too late. There was nowhere to go and unfortunately that was the end of our race.”
Rosenqvist believes he would have been well-placed for a strong run over the final 20 laps of the race, had he been given the chance.
“The NTT DATA Honda car was really good today,” the Swede concludes. “We drove a perfect race until that point – I’m so proud of my team. I’m convinced we had the speed for a top ten finish. I’ve learned so much today and I’m really looking forward to the next oval.”
Following the red-flag stoppage, the race was later resumed and won by Penske’s Simon Pagenaud at an average speed of 175 mph (282 km/h).
Felix Rosenqvist and the rest of the IndyCar family will be back on track in just a few days’ time for next weekend’s double-header meeting on the streets of Detroit.
RESULTS (TOP FIVE)
Indianapolis 500 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway
1: Simon Pagenaud (FRA), 200 laps
2: Alexander Rossi (USA), +0.208s
3: Takuma Sato (JPN), +0.341s
4: Josef Newgarden (USA), +0.897s
5: Will Power (AUS), +1.617s
DNF: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +24 laps
STANDINGS (TOP FIVE)
NTT IndyCar Series
After 6/17 races
1: Simon Pagenaud (FRA), 250 p.
2: Josef Newgarden (USA), 249 p.
3: Alexander Rossi (USA), 228 p.
4: Takuma Sato (JPN), 203 p.
5: Scott Dixon (NZL), 203 p.
15: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 117 p.