Romain Grosjean, Coyne/Rick Ware, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2021

Grosjean claims first IndyCar pole position at third attempt

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Romain Grosjean will start today’s IndyCar round on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grand prix course from pole position.

In brief

Grosjean grabs first IndyCar pole

Grosjean saw off two-times IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden and the rest of the enlarged, 25-strong IndyCar field to take his first pole position at the third time of asking. The Coyne/Rick Ware driver, who qualified seventh and 18th for his first two starts in the championship last month, headed the field with a lap of 1’09.4396.

He admitted some nervousness about leading the field around for a rolling start for the first time in his career, 10 years since he began his GP2 title-winning campaign with pole position at Istanbul Park.

Jack Harvey and round one winner Alex Palou will share the second row of the grid, followed by Grosjean’s fellow rookie Scott McLaughlin and Conor Daly. An incensed Will Power remonstrated with his race engineer on the pit wall after missing the cut for the Fast Six, and will start 12th. Reigning champion Scott Dixon fared no better in 16th.

Juan Pablo Montoya, returning to the series for the first time in four years, will bring up the rear of the field in McLaren SP’s third car. His two fastest lap times were deleted after he was ruled to have blocked Palou.

Two-year deal for Herta

Colton Herta, Andretti, St Petersburg, IndyCar, 2021
Herta has already won once this year
Colton Herta has extended his deal to drive for Andretti until at least the end of 2023. He will retain backing from Gainbridge.

“Colton has already shown so much potential in the short time he’s been in the series and having a great partner like Gainbridge recognise and support that potential is great for everyone,” said Michael Andretti. “If the start to the 2021 season is any indication of the future success for the 26 car’s program, I think we have a lot to look forward to over the next few years.”

Herta lies seventh in the championship after winning at St Petersburg but retiring from the first and third rounds. He will start today’s race from eighth on the grid.

Chilton misses Indianapolis Grand Prix

IndyCar should have had 26 cars on the grid this weekend, but Carlin driver Max Chilton is not present after being unable to travel to the USA in time for the race. The team expects to participate in the Indianapolis 500 later this month.

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Comment of the day

Did F1 really need to replace its lost race in Turkey?

Typical quantity over quality Liberty Media. Heaven forbid they have one less race in a season.

It was a good compromise under Covid restrictions last season but nobody wants a double-header at the same circuit.
Roth Man (@Rdotquestionmark)

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On this day in F1

Two-times F1 winner de Angelis lost his life today in 1986

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  • 43 comments on “Grosjean claims first IndyCar pole position at third attempt”

    1. Wow FANTASTIC! He just rung his cars neck to get that pole. Sliding everywhere. Can’t drive an F1 car like that. What a qualifying drive. Congrats Romain!!!

      1. Eh what? No need to glorify it. Sliding everywhere? Far from accurate.

        1. @skipgamer he does have a tendency to sing the praises of IndyCar extremely enthusiastically, to the point that he has often tipped into hyperbole or outright exaggeration (such as the crowd figures he claimed were present at the Indy 500, where he was claiming crowd figures that were in excess of the capacity of the circuit).

          1. The unofficial crowd figure for the Indy 500 almost always *is* in excess of the capacity, as a matter of fact. People sit on grass and walk around the infield without a seat. It’s very common to see a figure of approximately 300,000 for attendance when there are only 250,000 seats.

            As for Romain’s lap, I didn’t see a lot of sliding — unsurprisingly, since the lap was quick.

            1. @exediron the figures that he was claiming were significantly in excess of the total capacity of the circuit including the general admission areas (i.e. including all of those individuals walking around the infield areas) – he was claiming crowd attendances could be 400,000 or more.

          2. Sounds like Romain. It’s Indy’s cringe now not f1’s.

            1. @peartree I’ve no idea what you’re trying to say here.

            2. @peartree so the dude puts it on pole, on merit, against a talented field; and you still can’t give him credit for it. Wow. I pity you.

            3. Chill pill delivery! XD

    2. Well in Romain. All successes after the large crash in Bahrain will be such a feel-good story that they were allowed to happen!

      Hope we see F1 cars race on (any variant) of that track again.

    3. Fantastic. I still think he should have just retired after that escape. Indycar has taken several victims the last few years. Why risk that? Sorry to be grim but I don’t trust Americans at safety, which is self evident.

      1. Your “concern” is appreciated.

      2. Well this clearly isn’t based on fact, given that IndyCar hasn’t head any fatalities since 2015, so “several victims in the last few years” is completely poppycock. I’ll also add that the vast majority of IndyCar fatalities happen on ovals, which Grosjean isn’t participating in this year.

        1. Eathan I think the victims being referring to were not necessarily fatalities. Robert Wickens springs to mind, but there have been some other nasty crashes with serious consequences in the last 7 years. Complete poppycock, indeed.

    4. Bryan (@ruz234014)
      15th May 2021, 1:25

      AWESOME! So happy for Romain! I always thought he was faster than he was able to show in his F1 cars. After the near death experience he had last year, he earned and deserves this.

    5. Good for Grosjean, but the broadcast was lacking. Didn’t even get to see his pole-setting lap, just the commentators guessing why he gained/lost time.

      1. Not that much different to Formula 1, really. Repeatedly watch the final sequence of corners for the main runners, other than the final/likely top two.

    6. Good for him indeed, this shows why f1 isn’t that good to gauge performance, grosjean had speed sometimes but made a lot of mistakes, and was heavily criticized during his time in f1 but in reality, aside from the lotus, he never had a competitive car, and the haas in recent times was so bad (still is) that very few drivers would’ve emerged from that pit.

      Just look at the fact williams was on average 3 seconds behind the fastest qualifier this year, that’s insane, on the other hand, mazepin aside, which doesn’t seem a proper f1 driver, there’s probably only 1 second between the best and worst driver, so the team impact is way too high in f1, and this also leads to disputes such as people saying hamilton is the best ever and others barely considering him in the top 10 of all times and wanting to see more of him with big competition or a true underdog car, not just pretending like mercedes does.

      1. Ops, guessing it’s haas, not williams, that was 3 sec behind on average.

      2. Yeh but that’s part of the sport. The competition has always been about who can develop the best car within the regulations. The best drivers usually make it to the most competitive cars to maximise the package. Why would Mercedes for example hire a driver who is consistently 1 second a lap slower than the benchmark? Being the best driver is also more than just being quick. Someone like Lewis has maintained a healthy relationship with his team and as a consequence, he’s consistently been in a competitive car. Plenty of drivers have fallen out with their team which has arguably cost them more success (I’m thinking Prost, Lauda and Alonso as the first that come to mind).

      3. ColdFly (@)
        15th May 2021, 7:14

        Good for him indeed, this shows why f1 isn’t that good to gauge performance,

        It’s of course very good to gauge performance of the car developers, which it was designed to do first and foremost. @esploratore
        Maybe it’s a bit too much based on the car as you mentioned, but it’s difficult to find a good compromise between an empty drawing board and a spec series. The tyre part has been ‘spec’ed’ already.

        At least we now get 10 parallel driver championships, one within each team.
        I’ve always argued that F1’s main roster should be the WCC/team, and the tiny side one for the driver. This will make it clearer for the short attention span fans that F1 is not only about the driver.
        They might even go one step further and have 10 small winner podiums on the side; one for each inter team battle.

      4. Not that bad though. Grosjean has 10 podiums in 3 different cars and was the 7th or 8th best paid driver on the grid. F1 knew.

      5. Good for him indeed, this shows why f1 isn’t that good to gauge performance

        I think it’s quite the opposite. It’s the ultimate performance gauge and by quite a margin to other series. The fact that drivers that barely made it to F1, retired F1 drivers and others that didn’t succeed for whatever reason are doing extremely well in Indycar and other series speaks volume about the level of competitiveness in F1. When you see a driver of Fernando Alonso’s class struggling a bit in his return to F1 though he was absent for two years, you realize how much fast F1 is evolving.
        I don’t think for a second that Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton can’t make the difference in Indycar and can’t replicate the level of driving that they are operating with in F1. I’m extremely curious to see how Bottas will do if will leave F1 in the future for Indycar or other series.

        1. pastaman (@)
          15th May 2021, 13:50

          Yes, Mazepin and Latifi are the ultimate performance gauges. And you can see that Chilton and Ericsson are absolutely killing it in Indycar. Oh wait…

          1. @pastaman
            Mazepin, Latifi, Chilton and Ericsson are all pay drivers. They have no business in F1 if it wasn’t for Williams, Haas, Marussia and Sauber financial struggles.

            1. pastaman (@)
              15th May 2021, 20:24

              Agreed, and therefore F1 is not the ultimate gauge of performance. Good F1 drivers do well in Indycar and average drivers do not.

            2. pastaman (@)
              15th May 2021, 20:38

              Did I just contradict myself lol

    7. I bet Sergio Perez would do pretty good in Indycar.

      1. Exactly he should have gone there instead. Little point in having your career ruined by a #2 slot in essentially a one driver team.

        1. he was never good enough.

    8. Very happy for Romain, nice headline to wake up to this morning.

      1. I didn’t expect him to get pole on his 5th race!

        1. @qeki Me neither, I kind of expected it to be something of 2-3 year ‘journey man project’, (and it still might be), but the fact he seems to be competitive so early, I guess is good. It’s not that he’s an ex-F1 driver, or because of the crash that I’m happy for him, just it’s nice that someone tries something new and is seemingly good at it. Especially since he’s spent the last few years aiming for 16th and the side of Kevin Magnussen’s car.

          This just seems a happier life for him, he is competitive at what he loves and can presumably do his cooking and hang out with the kids in a less pressured work environment.

          1. @bernasaurus One of the feel good stories that will last long.

    9. All aboard on the grosjean hype train!

    10. I’m still thinking of Elio.

      1. Derek Edwards
        15th May 2021, 10:26

        Me too – I have a lovely framed photograph of him testing a Lotus at Kyalami on my wall.

        The second race I watched was his maiden victory at Austria in 1982 and he was always one of my favourite drivers. By all accounts he was a thoroughly decent person and a delight to be with and I remember that 1984 season when he came in third beihind Lauda and Prost, also that period of races in 1985 when he led the championship.

        The move to Brabham was clearly a step back after his time at Lotus, shifting to a team that was on the way down, but he was still only twenty eight, so there would probably have been time for some more opportunities.

    11. Also, on this day in F1: Max’s maiden F1 win in the 2016 Spanish GP.

      1. …when the two Mercedes came together.

        1. @Dave And? “To finish first, first you must finish.”

    12. He overtook the whole field of F3 drivers! Yay!

    13. It would be interesting to see what times could he do in a Merc car, driving in full anger. Romain, with all his flaws was still a decent F1 driver, and it is a shame Haas destrroyed his racing career with subpar machinery which they were actually not producing after 2018.

      1. 3 races in, a pole position and second place finish for Grosjean shows us why there are no American drivers in F1. In F1 Romain was at best a mid field player, got a few good results, but even had he been in one of the better cars I don’t think he would have been championship material. To me it shows that there is a huge difference in driver ability between F1 and Indy. And Scott McLaughlin who has practically no experience of open wheel racing coming from the Australian Supercar series finished second in only his third Indy race whilst Jimmie Johnson a multiple Nascar champion is struggling with a best finish of 19th.

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