Ericsson: “I’m very happy with my performance, with our performance”

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Marcus Ericsson’s Indianapolis 500 defense was thwarted by a backstretch pass from Josef Newgarden, but after the race he was satisfied that that he and his Chip Ganassi Racing team put everything out there to finish 2nd. It keeps him firmly in the hunt for the overall championship.

“I’m very happy with my performance, with our performance. I think we did an awesome race. I had a great car, great strategy, pit stops. Tough restarts and good restarts. Had a lot of fun out there.”

Ericsson went into the lap 200 restart expecting to lose the lead immediately—“every restart it felt like P1 was going to P5”—but managed to hold on for half a lap before Newgarden’s Penske finally got around.

“I knew for that last restart it was going to be almost impossible to keep the lead. […]I think I did a great job there on the restart of catching him by surprise and get a jump and not get overtaken into 1[….] I think I aced that restart, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.”

The finish was helped along by a change in the aero package introduced for Indianapolis that resulted in 52 lead changes, the third-most in 500 history.

This year it was harder for the leader of the race to hang on to the lead due to the aero spec changes according to the Swede. The power of the slipstream in the closing stages certainly suggested it.

“I think the cars with the aero spec we had this week or this month was a bit harder to lead. We’ve seen it all month, it’s hard to lead.

“I think last year was just a little bit less drag and I think with the ambient and everything, it was a little bit easier to be in the lead than today.”

It was nearly 53 lead changes, but for Newgarden pushing Ericsson’s snaking tactic to its limit on the frontstretch, almost carrying into the pitlane before coming back across to take the checkers. There were certainly no hard feelings from Ericsson on being served his own medicine.

“I mean, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win this race. I knew he was going to do it. Still tried to get a run on him, but it was not enough, unfortunately. He did it well, yeah.”

The consolation for Ericsson is moving up to second in points, 20 behind teammate Alex Palou, and carrying good momentum heading into next Sunday’s run at the new Detroit street circuit. Ericsson had a win and four top-10s in five starts at Belle Isle, and will look to keep that success going on the other side of the Detroit River.