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IndyCar Indy GP: Rossi wins to end drought after Herta heartache

Rossi, who will depart Andretti Autosport for Arrow McLaren SP at season's end, claimed victory by 3.544s over Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing rookie Christian Lundgaard to end a 49-race winless run.

Rossi ran second on the opening lap behind AMSP polesitter Felix Rosenqvist, but lost out to Herta following a lap four restart.

When Herta passed Rosenqvist on lap seven, Rossi soon followed him through and continued to follow Herta until the winner of May's first Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course race in soaking wet conditions slowed suddenly following a kerb strike and retired.

Thereafter he was never headed, the 2018 championship runner-up securing an eighth IndyCar victory over Lundgaard, who secured his best-ever IndyCar finish a year on from his debut at the track.

Team Penske driver Will Power seized the championship lead away from Marcus Ericsson by completing the podium in third after being delayed in a chaotic start.

A relieved Rossi said: “We've had some race wins that we've thrown away for sure, and we've had some weekends where we've just kind of not had the pace for whatever reason. 

“We knew things were trending in a good direction this year, and we had a solid test here a month or so ago.

"I think the one constant has been just the mental strength of the whole team. As challenging as it is for me, it's also hard for them. They go in every day and work their butts off, and when they don't get results, it's hard for them as well. 

Green Flag, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet (Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images)

“I think as a unit, that's one of our strengths is being able to continue to just push forward. It's a big team win and a big thank you to the whole organisation.

"Obviously the cars were fast. It sucks what happened to Colton but I've had my share of things. It comes full circle, I guess, sometimes, so it's good to be up there.” 

Behind Rosenqvist and Rossi, Penske’s Josef Newgarden boldly moved up from fifth to third at the start while Herta squeezed Power into Patricio O’Ward, spinning the second AMSP car and obliging Power to stand on the brakes.

The yellow that followed a Turn 3 spin from Dalton Kellett allowed Power and and O’Ward to pit for the softer compound red-walled Firestone tyres, and also allowed Race Control to shuffle Newgarden back two places for exceeding track limits behind Herta and Lundgaard.

After Rosenqvist (struggling with rear brakes that weren't disengaging) had dropped behind the two Andretti cars, Lundgaard followed them through on lap nine, with Rosenqvist continuing to hold Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin behind him.

Power, O'Ward and Takuma Sato, who had also saved early, attempted to save fuel and stretch their stints to get back on strategy with the leaders. O'Ward and Sato were caught and passed before their stops on lap 31, but Power remained ahead of Herta when he pitted on lap 32 before rejoining 19th.

Behind the Herta, Rossi and Lundgaard group, McLaughlin was the highest-placed driver who had started on the red tyres and was running on the unfavoured primaries, but had to concede to Newgarden on lap 36.

When Simon Pagenaud ran out of fuel on track and needed to be recovered, most of the field pitted under the resulting caution with Power cycling up to fourth ahead of Jimmie Johnson, McLaughlin and Newgarden.

Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda (Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images)

After McLaughlin muscled past Johnson, the NASCAR legend soon tumbled down the order, also losing out to Newgarden, Rinus VeeKay, Graham Rahal and his Ganassi team-mate Scott Dixon.

Power’s fuel-saving efforts briefly left him vulnerable to McLaughlin, but he steadied his advantage at around a second, as McLaughlin had a similar margin over Newgarden, the Penske trio having dropped VeeKay.

Behind Rahal and Dixon, Rosenqvist slipped back to ninth at the finish, with Alex Palou beating team-mate and erstwhile points leader Ericsson to complete the top 10.

IndyCar Indy GP Race Results (85 laps)

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 85 1:48'39.1825    
2 Denmark Christian Lundgaard United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 85 1:48'42.7266 3.5441 3.5441
3 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 85 1:48'54.0306 14.8481 11.3040
4 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 85 1:48'55.1519 15.9694 1.1213
5 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 85 1:48'57.6078 18.4253 2.4559
6 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 85 1:49'02.1451 22.9626 4.5373
7 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 85 1:49'02.5367 23.3542 0.3916
8 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 85 1:49'02.7955 23.6130 0.2588
9 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Arrow McLaren SP 85 1:49'03.6484 24.4659 0.8529
10 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 85 1:49'06.8226 27.6401 3.1742
11 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 85 1:49'14.2599 35.0774 7.4373
12 Mexico Patricio O'Ward United States Arrow McLaren SP 85 1:49'22.2466 43.0641 7.9867
13 United States David Malukas United States Dale Coyne Racing 85 1:49'29.3693 50.1868 7.1227
14 United Kingdom Callum Ilott United States Juncos Hollinger Racing 85 1:49'31.1026 51.9201 1.7333
15 Japan Takuma Sato United States Dale Coyne Racing 85 1:49'36.2894 57.1069 5.1868
16 France Romain Grosjean United States Andretti Autosport 85 1:49'38.2352 59.0527 1.9458
17 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 85 1:49'39.3141 1'00.1316 1.0789
18 Canada Devlin DeFrancesco United States Andretti Autosport 85 1:49'40.9705 1'01.7880 1.6564
19 Brazil Helio Castroneves United States Meyer Shank Racing 85 1:49'42.6509 1'03.4684 1.6804
20 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 85 1:49'43.7822 1'04.5997 1.1313
21 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 84 1:48'48.8874 1 Lap 1 Lap
22 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 84 1:48'59.5642 1 Lap 10.6768
23 United States Kyle Kirkwood United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 84 1:49'18.1559 1 Lap 18.5917
24 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 42 1:01'48.1614 43 Laps 42 Laps
25 France Simon Pagenaud United States Meyer Shank Racing 34 43'33.7245 51 Laps 8 Laps
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