McLaughlin outduels Grosjean for Alabama Grand Prix victory


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In a rematch of their season-opening battle for victory, Scott McLaughlin pounced on a mistake from race leader Romain Grosjean to take victory in the Alabama Indy Grand Prix.

For much of Sunday afternoon’s race it looked Grosjean finally would take his first win in the series. From pole position, Grosjean controlled the opening stint and kept McLaughlin behind him during the middle stages, running on a conventional two-stop strategy.

McLaughlin, who started fourth, opted for the more aggressive three-stop strategy and then gained track position after his second stop, just before the Safety Car came out for Sting Ray Robb’s stranded vehicle breaking down out of turn eight.

Grosjean made his final pit stop on lap 60 and appeared to have plenty of push-to-pass available for the final stages, but he burned through it rapidly in an attempt to stay ahead of McLaughlin once the Penske driver made his last stop four laps later.

While McLaughlin was able to come out of the pits ahead of Grosjean, the Andretti driver was able to muscle his way past for the net lead with an aggressive dive into the final left-hand corner.

But on lap 72, Grosjean ran wide through the left-hander ‘Charlotte’s Web’ (turns six and seven) which gave McLaughlin an opening he did not hesitate to drive through. He completed his pass on Grosjean for the lead into the turn eight complex with ease.

From there McLaughlin drove away to capture his fourth career IndyCar win and his first at Barber Motorsports Park.

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Grosjean, who led 57 out of 90 laps today, held off a hard-charging Will Power for second place. The former Formula 1 racer took his fifth runner-up finish in IndyCar, and second in as many races after he finished behind Kyle Kirkwood in the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Two-time and defending IndyCar champion Power had to settle for third, with Pato O’Ward finishing a distant fourth and prevailing after a late pursuit from Alex Palou in fifth.

Christian Lundgaard had his best result of the season, finishing sixth, and making some strong moves of his own early in the race. Scott Dixon came home in seventh place, ahead of the McLaren drivers Alexander Rossi and Felix Rosenqvist in eighth and ninth respectively.

Marcus Ericsson holds on to his lead in the IndyCar points standings with a 10th place finish, ahead of Marcus Armstrong, the highest-finishing rookie, who charged from 26th to 11th. Three-time Barber race winner Josef Newgarden, on the same strategy as race winner McLaughlin, finished in a sub-par 15th place after suffering a handling problem.

After four races, Ericsson has a three-point lead over O’Ward in the drivers’ championship. Palou is just nine points behind in third, and both McLaughlin and Grosjean are within 15 points in fourth and fifth place.

The traditions of the Month of May are next for the IndyCar series, which returns to action on Saturday, 13th May for the Indy Grand Prix around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

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Race results

13Scott McLaughlinPenskeChevrolet
228Romain GrosjeanAndrettiHonda
312Will PowerPenskeChevrolet
45Pato O’WardMcLarenChevrolet
510Alex PalouGanassiHonda
645Christian LundgaardRLLHonda
79Scott DixonGanassiHonda
87Alexander RossiMcLarenChevrolet
96Felix RosenqvistMcLarenChevrolet
108Marcus EricssonGanassiHonda
1111Marcus ArmstrongGanassiHonda
1227Kyle KirkwoodAndrettiHonda
1377Callum IlottJuncos HollingerChevrolet
1426Colton HertaAndrettiHonda
152Josef NewgardenPenskeChevrolet
1621Rinus VeeKayCarpenterChevrolet
1715Graham RahalRLLHonda
1860Simon PagenaudMeyer ShankHonda
1918David MalukasCoyne/HMDHonda
2014Santino FerrucciFoytChevrolet
216Felix RosenqvistMcLarenChevrolet
2255Benjamin PedersenFoytChevrolet
2329Devlin DeFrancescoAndrettiHonda
2430Jack HarveyRLLHonda
2520Conor DalyCarpenterChevrolet
2678Agustin CanapinoJuncos HollingerChevrolet
2751Sting Ray RobbCoyne/RWRHonda

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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11 comments on “McLaughlin outduels Grosjean for Alabama Grand Prix victory”

  1. Good fun that unfortunately ended with Romain making a mistake.

    I wonder how Felix Rosenqvist managed to finish both 9th and 21st according to these results.

    Awful performances of Josef Newgarden in the lone slow Penske and all the non-Grosjean Andrettis.

    1. Newgarden was nursing a damaged car since the start – someone ran into him from behind and bent a suspension component. This caused excessive tire wear which explains his lack of performance.

      1. Thanks! 👍

        That’s what I get for turning in late.

        1. *tuning, not turning 😂

  2. Miles better than the F1 today (sorry, this… long weekend? It’s felt like a slog, to be quiet honest). I appreciate IndyCar is a spec series, but as a racing spectacle, it’s putting F1 in the shade this year so far. Great overtake on McLaughlin by Grosjean for the lead, sadly undone later on.

    1. So true! I also feel that in general the push to pass system is so much better than DRS and what a track! I’d be much more excited if F1 were to drive here than Vegas or Miami..

    2. Yellow Barron
      1st May 2023, 19:53

      It being a spec series is why it’s so good. Maybe someone else can inform better than me but the teams do make several of their own parts and championship wise it tends to also be a few teams that rise to the top. If F1 races were like indycar i don’t think people would be complaining much. It would be like 2021 but better

  3. Great racing. Who knew cars could follow, go side by side, and keep it fair? F1 take note.

  4. I was really pulling for Romain to get his first win! You knew he was in trouble when they showed he had used up all his push to pass. Sooner or later he’s finally going to get that elusive win. Once again, WAY better than the boredom of F1.

    1. Agree – As for pure racing, this was better than Baku – racing was close enough a single missed corner was enough for the race win.

      I enjoyed the final pit stops and the fight for the lead on cold and warm tires.

    2. Yellow Barron
      1st May 2023, 19:54

      He tends to go well at the indy road course too so perfect opportunity for him next race.

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