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Ex-F1 Driver Marcus Ericsson Triumphs in Indianapolis Overcoming Even the Wind Problems
On the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix unfolded, the second race from the Triple Crown of Motorsport was held at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ex-F1 Driver Marcus Ericsson Triumphs in Indianapolis Overcoming Even the Wind Problems

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Of course, we are talking about the Indianapolis 500 race, which is one of the oldest official racing events in motorsport history. Being first held in 1911, now we had the 106th Indy 500 race, which was as exciting as ever.

From pole position started Scott Dixon (six-time winner in Indianapolis), arguably the greatest IndyCar racer of the century and often included in the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All-Time) conversation alongside Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt. He crushed his competition with an average lap time of 234.046 mph (376.66 kph), marking his fifth pole win, second all-time behind Rick Mears.

Why do we say he dominated? Well, his slowest lap of 233.726 mph (376.145 kph) was better than almost every other driver's best. Behind him, Palou and Veekay comprise the fastest front row ever at the Indy 500. In the previous 105 events, only 21 times did the driver who started first actually win. The last driver to do it was Simon Pagenaud in 2019.

As the green lights appeared, Dixon led after Turn 1, but his teammate Alex Palou went inside in a short time while Rinus VeeKay did the same. After six laps, the top five were Palou, Dixon, VeeKay, Ericsson and Ed Carpenter, with the Ganassi cars hoping to get in line with the others. Minutes later, Dixon passed Palou between the short chute of Turns 3 and 4. This is likely a strategic move because the rivals would pit before they do. VeeKay's team saw that, and he was requested to just behind the Ganassi cars to save some fuel and tire life.

After the first session of pit stops, Dixon and Palou were ahead of Carpenter and VeeKay, but moments later, Rinus found a way to get past Dixon. However, his race was cut short after making contact with the wall, bringing out the yellow flags.

As we approached Lap 50, O'Ward overtook Ericsson for third, while at the same time, Kanaan managed his way past Takuma Sato. Meanwhile, Palou and Dixon swapped again, with Scott going to the front. Just before the second round of pit stops, Illot crashes at the exit of Turn 2, bringing the second full-course yellow. Unfortunately, Alex Palou was the most affected by this incident because he entered the pits just as the yellow came out and was told to pull through the pit lane and re-enter the track.

When things couldn't worsen, Palou had to stop with the pit closed due to lack of fuel. As a result, he had to serve a penalty when the field went green. Besides, he wasn't able to change tires and get a whole load of fuel, so another pit stop was needed. All these problems left Alex Palou down in 26th and on a full charge.

When we went green again, Conor Daly made his move, letting Dixon down in P2. After we passed the halfway mark of the 200 laps race, O'Ward took the second spot as Daly made his scheduled stop. Meanwhile, ex-Formula One driver Romain Grosjean had spun and crashed out. Wind problems really affected the drivers, especially on the transition from the short chute to the back straight.

At Lap 113, we went green again with Dixon, Daly, O'Ward and Ferrucci (in this order) all fighting for the front spot. But, from behind, Rosenqvist went on the outside to overtake Ferrucci for P4. Around this moment, Dixon was chased by three Chevrolets who were better at saving fuel than his Honda. A repercussion when you lead so much.

On Lap 150, after the final session of pit stops, O'Ward was leading the pack, looking good to take McLaren's first win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since the mid-70s. Minutes later, the wind caught another driver, with Scott McLaughlin crashing at Turn 3, bringing out the fourth full-course yellow.

At Lap 158, it was green and Dixon took advantage by overtaking O'Ward at Turn 1. To complete the top five we had Rosenqvist, Daly and Ericsson. With 25 laps to go, the final pit stops were made, and after some battles between O'Ward and Dixon, the Ganassi driver pitted. However, on his last stop, Dixon locked the tires up. He was caught speeding and he had to serve a drive-through penalty, being a decisive moment for the race. At this moment, O'Ward was on his way to being the first Mexican driver to win in Indy. After Sergio Perez won in Monaco, it would be an incredible day for Mexico.

With Dixon serving his penalty and O'Ward pitting, Swedish drivers Rosenqvist and Ericsson were at the top. Ex-Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson overtook Rosenqvist and started to pull away from O'Ward, who had trouble with traffic. Jimmie Johnson crashed into the wall, bringing out the red flag, meaning the field would come to a stop with five laps to go. Meanwhile, Ericsson from Ganassi and O'Ward from McLaren were battling out for their first win at Indianapolis. Crews were allowed to go out to the cars, using blowers to lower the engine temperatures.

After the marshalls showed the green flag, the cars went for a warmup lap, then went around a second time to come up to speed and raced for two laps. Ed Carpenter's car failed to start initially, so he joined the field at the back after he was a contender for the win.

After probably the most challenging that he ever did, Marcus Ericsson resisted winning the most important race of his career, entering the history books as he won the 106th Indianapolis 500 race.

 
 
 
 
 

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