Herta: Last stint “a killer” after dropping from lead to fifth


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Colton Herta had arguably his best race in over a year yesterday, but his fifth-place finish at Road America came as little consolation after he led the majority of the race.

“It’s a frustrating one,” said Herta after the race. “We had the best car and we were cruising the whole time.”

“I had so much more in it, and we just never really got to show it because we were always saving fuel, trying to go that lap later.”

His chances of winning Sunday’s race took a downward turn when he made his final pit stop on lap 40, one lap earlier than Alex Palou, who caught and passed Herta to win.

“It was unclear to me how the race was going to play out at that point,” Herta explained. “It was hard to say what was going to happen with fuel numbers.”

“I knew it was about 15 laps to go and that’s usually a pretty reasonable fuel number. But it ended up being quite a bit more.”

“That’s a killer,” Herta added, visibly frustrated after tumbling down the order in the last seven laps.

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“We still got a fifth out of it,” he shrugged, “which is nice. Not what we want though, and so for that reason, it’s pretty frustrating.”

Herta claimed the 10th pole position of his IndyCar career on Saturday and followed that up in the race by leading 33 out of 55 laps – the most laps that he’d led since he won the rain-soaked Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May 2022.

That was also Herta’s most recent IndyCar win, now more than a year ago. The 13-month span also covers Herta’s most recent bid to make the leap to Formula 1, only to be denied due to a lack of FIA super license points.

Herta’s downward slide on Sunday was the opposite of his last two IndyCar wins – at Long Beach in 2021, and the May 2022 Indy road course race, both of which came from 14th on the grid.

“But when you’re starting 14th, it’s a lot easier to move forward than when you’re starting first,” Herta pointed out.

“It does suck. It’s a top-five in the end, which is nice points. But at the moment…I couldn’t care less about it.”

Through eight races, Herta has five top-ten finishes and just one retirement but has yet to stand on the podium this season. He currently sits ninth in the championship table, 141 points behind championship leader Palou.

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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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2 comments on “Herta: Last stint “a killer” after dropping from lead to fifth”

  1. Sounds like they should have stayed out just one lap more before their final pit stop and everything would have been fine. A killer indeed.

  2. This is on the team strategy, not the driver. Herta was great the whole race.

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