O’Ward: 10 points “thrown away” with late plenum fire issue

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By Luke-John Buckle

Pato O’Ward says “it comes up randomly” after he agonisingly lost the lead with two laps to go at St. Petersburg with a plenum fire.

The Arrow McLaren SP driver’s Chevrolet engine stuttered on the pit straight which allowed Marcus Ericsson to take victory.

O’Ward explained to pitdebrief.com and other media that the plenum fire occurred by chance: “It’s more random. It comes up randomly.

“It shut off with a plenum fire. You have to let off, get back to it.

“You can’t really predict it. We just have to have a look into it and we ended up with some great points.

“We started the year like we wanted to, right, but they’re very valuable points at the end of the day. We just got 10 points thrown away.

“We’ll have a look at all the data and stuff and then just make sure how for that not to happen and look forward to Dallas. I really like that place.”

The Mexican driver heaped praise on his team as the car performed well over the weekend and improved compared to their results in St. Petersburg last year.

“We did everything right today. I’ve got to give it to the teams. Arrow Electronics and everybody, not just our 5 car, but Felix, Alex, their groups, as well.

“I feel like we’ve all really collaborated fantastically and come with a package that has been a massive step up to where we were last year, so that’s super promising.

“Super happy with that. Didn’t really move much; we rolled off the truck strong, which is what we wanted to do.”

Romain Grosjean and Scott McLaughlin crashed while battling for the lead. This allowed O’Ward to move to the front of the field.

The 23-year-old thought a crash would happen as it was Grosjean’s final opportunity to challenge for the lead.

“I had a feeling they were going to get tangled up, because after the first pit stop sequence they did the exact same thing where McLaughlin was inside in Turn 4 with colder tires, Grosjean on the outside and Grosjean almost got the bad end of it, but he saved it.

“But this last pit stop, it was his chance to get by him, and I knew he was going to go for it.

“I wasn’t very surprised when I saw it, to be honest with you.

“There’s space for one car there, and when you really, really charge it, it’s a coin toss. Is the car going to give it to you or not.

“And if you touch, then both of you are going to get received by the wall quite nicely.

“The lead got handed over to me and then I handed it over to Marcus.”