Palou admits to feeling like “just a passenger sometimes” such was the speed of his CGR car on the way to victory in the Sonsio GP

Photo Credit: Penske Entertainment | Chris Jones
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Reigning IndyCar Champion Alex Palou completed the sweep at the Indianapolis Road course, securing the pole on Friday, then going on to win the race on Saturday in controlling fashion, finishing six seconds in front of Will Power in second.

Having won the Indy GP last season, Palou then went on a run of three wins in a row at road and street courses with wins at Detroit, Road America and Mid-Ohio which ultimately left him with a sizable gap at the top of the standings, one that nobody could come close to as he ran away with the championship.

“Yeah, Last year was special. We got the win here, the pole at the GP, then three wins in a row. It felt amazing every time we were on track we were P1, so that felt super good. But it’s tough.”

The Spaniard is not getting ahead of himself as despite his consistent results, which have seen him finish every race so far this season in the top five, he has admitted to having struggled at times.

“If something doesn’t go 100 percent nowadays in INDYCAR, there’s someone there to take the win from you.

“I think this year it’s been like that. We’ve been feeling that we’re there, ready to fight, and didn’t really get a chance until today, except St. Pete where we didn’t really have speed.”

Having lost the lead at the start to Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Christian Lundgaard, Palou was stuck in P2 in the first stint which forced him to dive for pit road on lap 19.

This move surprised many spectators as well as Palou himself, as he followed Lundgaard into the pits, not taking the opportunity to try an overcut which could have seen him take the lead. In fact, he was jumped by Power who used his new alternates to get by via the undercut.

“Yes and no. At the end of the day, I don’t really know what’s going on at the track. Maybe they saw something that could have been a yellow, and in that moment if I take the decision.”

He did eventually take the net race lead at the end of the second stint as he extended his primary tyre stint a lap longer than the Dane and the Australian, and he came out of the pits mere car lengths in front of Lundgaard.

From here, Palou controlled the race in dominant fashion, his only scare coming in the form of a late race caution.

As on the restart, with sixteen laps to go, the Spaniard had to make a darting defensive manoeuvre to prevent an overtake from Will Power.

“Yeah, he got a really good restart. He had a shorter first gear, as I said, than we did, so his jump was actually a little bit better than mine, and on top of that, he had my tow. I just saw it coming, and I had to defend. I didn’t want to give the lead back.”

This result makes it his tenth NTT IndyCar Series win and takes him to the lead of the Drivers’ Championship, twelve points ahead of Will Power in second.

Asked about his incredible form since the start of 2023 and whether he is the driver to beat, Palou credited CGR for the job they are doing to give him such a great car.

“Yeah, it’s great, but it doesn’t come easy. You can see what happened to us this weekend in practice 1 and practice 2. You can see that got lucky, got a save into Turn 4. We were pushing. We were not cruising.

“Yeah, I give all the kudos to my team for giving me fast cars. Without the fast car I had in qualifying, I could have qualified P17 and had a terrible weekend.I don’t think it’s all me. I’m just a passenger sometimes in that car.

“We won last year, so we are obviously — we have the best team. I don’t think that there’s huge differences in terms of performance, but there’s really big differences in terms of executing, and my team is the best at executing and getting 100 percent or sometimes 101 percent of what we have every single weekend.”

All focus will now be placed towards the next race as “the greatest spectacle in racing”, the Indy 500 takes place in two weeks’ time on the 26th of May.