Seduced by the hybrid, Álex Palou still leaves Mid-Ohio a little disappointed

Still leader of the IndyCar championship, Álex Palou (Ganassi) had to settle for second place this Sunday on the track of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in Lexington, Ohio. If the Catalan felt disappointed, he also knows how to put things into perspective and thus be satisfied with a good day from an accounting point of view.

Published on 08/07/2024 à 17:36

Michael Duforest

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Seduced by the hybrid, Álex Palou still leaves Mid-Ohio a little disappointed

© Penske Entertainment: James Black

Everything started perfectly for Palou, who qualified in pole position for the second consecutive race. Leader at the start of the event, he took off when almost everyone had hard tires. A third of the way into the race, it seemed impossible that victory would escape the reigning champion. Alas, Pato O'Ward (Arrow McLaren) returned gradually during the second stint, where both drivers were on soft tires. A stop a lap later than the Mexican and the controls of the event were no longer on the side of Álex Palou, finally second after a third stint passed through the exhausts of the Dallara-Chevrolet.

“It was a fun ride until it wasn't for me! I had a good car. I rode really well in the first stint on the hard tyres. I think we were very strong on these tires, a little more than we expected, and we were a little worse than we expected on the softs. I couldn't get the pace I wanted. I tried to take care of the tires, and they didn't like me. I had big blisters on the front tires, and the 5s started to catch up with us.

Then our entry lap was pretty bad, there was traffic, I didn't engage first gear as usual because I knew I hadn't done a great entry lap. We tried to come back in the last stint. We were close, but not close enough. Honestly, it was a good day for the #10 car. It's always a little disappointing when you know that we had the car and everything you needed to win, but it's still a good day, with a podium to boot. »

A final relay where overtaking was difficult

Palou's final pit stop was indeed the key to the race, as the Catalan attempted to engage first gear while the fuel attendant was still refueling. The regulations of theIndyCar prohibited from entering the first at that moment, Palou had to wait a few moments, which turned out to be decisive, with O'Ward overtaking him straight out of the pits. The Mexican had stopped a lap earlier.

The two men then fought until the finish of the race, Palou having an opportunity to overtake on the last lap, but well defended by O'Ward: “It was difficult to overtake. I think he also had a lot of push-to-pass left, like me. He was able to use it every turn. It was difficult to get close. I was really close entering turn 6 on the last lap. I was going to dive to try but he closed the trajectory well. At least we tried! »

Mid-Ohio finally represented the first IndyCar race to be contested with the new hybrid systems, developed by Honda and Chevrolet. A first which pleasantly surprised the Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who did not expect the electrical system to be so efficient and useful!

“It was a lot more fun than I expected. I thought it would be pretty boring, that we wouldn't have a lot of tools to make differences between drivers or teams, or even during the race, like adjusting the balance of the car and doing other things. It's much better than I expected. This is very fun. Yes, every lap you can do something different to try to change the way the car behaves. »

ALSO READ > For O'Ward, there was no question of letting a Palou "on another planet" escape

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