Ericsson makes lemonade out of Long Beach lemons to take points lead

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Photo credit: IndyCar/Travis Hinkle

Marcus Ericsson recovered from early-race drama at Long Beach to score a third-place finish, inheriting the points lead in the process after a rough outing from Pato O’Ward, who almost took Ericsson out after the Arrow McLaren driver hit the tyres off the restart on lap 26. It was an error that the defending Indy 500 winner saw as unforced.

“The only sort of issue we had in the race was that restart when Pato decided to dive down there and try to take out a lot of cars. Got caught out in that, had to almost stop the car. I think I lost five or six positions there. From there on, it was tough.

“I thought from my point of view it was a low-percentage move, early in the race, on the restart.[…] That move on Kyle [Kirkwood], he could have taken out me and Kyle and Romain [Grosjean], all of us.”

Ericsson managed to stay in the top ten, worked his way back through and comfortable pass on Josef Newgarden got him back into the podium places. He noted that this patience and consistency–resulting in just seven DNFs in 66 starts so far–has been a major factor in his rise to championship contention in IndyCar.

“Over the last couple of seasons, my consistency has been my key, to always be there. I think Texas last race was a good example of that: we had a bad day, but we still finished eighth.”

Similarly, Ericsson’s relative misfortune meant that he went from a front row start down to sixth, but stayed in the sharp part of the race throughout.

“In this series, the way we get the points here, the way we win, is consistency and being up there in the top eight, top five every time.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work and we’re feeling strong, feeling good. But yeah, it’s a long season, so we need to keep doing what we’re doing.”

What Ericsson has done in three races at the next stop, Barber Motorsports Park, is finish no higher than 7th but no lower than 12th–understated performances that he and the team expect will stand out if/when the other contenders find themselves in trouble down the stretch.