Pato O'Ward

O’Ward soaks up huge pressure from Palou to win electrifying first race for IndyCar hybrids


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Pato O’Ward withstood fierce pressure from Alex Palou over the final stint of the Mid-Ohio 200 to win by less than half a second.

McLaren snatched the win away from Ganassi after Palou led the opening stints of the race. A rapid final pit stop for O’Ward, combined with quick laps either side of his stop, got him ahead of the driver who beat him to pole position by mere thousandths the day before.

Palou was unrelenting in his pursuit of O’Ward over the race’s final laps. The car almost snapped away from him at turn 13 with 13 laps remaining, giving O’Ward brief respite, but within half-a-dozen laps the Ganassi driver was sat on his rear wing once again.

O’Ward’s situation was made more precarious as he bore down on the lapped Kyffin Simpson, Palou’s team mate, who was unwilling to go a lap down. With Agustin Canapino ahead backing off to save fuel – and eventually running out on the final lap – and his team mate Romain Grosjean rejoining the track as the queue of backmarkers arrived, O’Ward had no opportunity to relax as they sprinted to the flag.

He never put a wheel wrong until the final corner, where he fishtailed dramatically as he accelerated towards the line. Palou fell narrowly short as Chevrolet beat Honda to the first win of IndyCar’s hybrid era.

O’Ward scored his second victory of the year, the other coming after Josef Newgarden was disqualified from the season-opener weeks after its conclusion. “I know we won St Pete but this is a proper win,” enthused O’Ward afterwards.

Scott McLaughlin – the only Penske driver to finish in the top 10 – joined them on the podium, followed by Andretti’s Colton Herta and Marcus Ericsson. Alexander Rossi took sixth ahead of Christian Lundgaard, Kyle Kirkwood, Christian Rasmussen and Santino Ferrucci.

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Having qualified a strong third in his second appearance for Meyer Shank, David Malukas fell to 12th behind Will Power at the flag. The other Penske of Newgarden came 25th after serving two pit lane speeding penalties, the second of which was incurred while serving the first. Scott Dixon was the only hybrid-related retirement, the remaining 26 cars all running at the finish.

Race result

P. No. Driver Team Engine
1 5 Pato O’Ward McLaren Chevrolet
2 10 Alex Palou Ganassi Honda
3 3 Scott McLaughlin Penske Chevrolet
4 21 Colton Herta Andretti/Curb-Agajanian Honda
5 23 Marcus Ericsson Andretti Honda
6 7 Alexander Rossi McLaren Chevrolet
7 27 Christian Lundgaard RLL Honda
8 22 Kyle Kirkwood Andretti Honda
9 25 Christian Rasmussen Carpenter Chevrolet
10 13 Santino Ferrucci Foyt Chevrolet
11 12 Will Power Penske Chevrolet
12 30 David Malukas Meyer Shank Honda
13 28 Toby Sowery Coyne/WR Honda
14 29 Felix Rosenqvist Meyer Shank Honda
15 8 Linus Lundqvist Ganassi Honda
16 26 Sting Ray Robb Foyt Chevrolet
17 11 Marcus Armstrong Ganassi Honda
18 14 Graham Rahal RLL Honda
19 18 Rinus VeeKay Carpenter Chevrolet
20 6 Nolan Siegel McLaren Chevrolet
21 4 Kyffin Simpson Ganassi Honda
22 33 Agustin Canapino Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
23 32 Romain Grosjean Juncos Hollinger Chevrolet
24 24 Pietro Fittipaldi RLL Honda
25 2 Josef Newgarden Penske Chevrolet
26 16 Jack Harvey Coyne Honda
27 9 Scott Dixon Ganassi Honda

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “O’Ward soaks up huge pressure from Palou to win electrifying first race for IndyCar hybrids”

  1. It was a good race.
    But just as in F1, I’m getting tired of drivers having to struggle with over-heating tyres.

    1. I agree with the sentiment but isn’t this just a case of engjne/PU evolution going too quick for tyre manufacturers to keep up.

      Adding more and more horsepower and the associated weight is just putting too much extra load on the tyres and the safety aspects of a pitstop meaning that pitlane losses can’t really be improved to encourage more stops.

      1. BMW P85 V10
        8th July 2024, 21:23

        I think the increased torq does more to the tire than the increased horsepower.
        The 3L V10 where also close to a 1000 horsepower, but had much less torq.

    2. agreed.

      @chimaera2003 they were producing more power in the past, in the CART era for example they were producing over 900bhp with a fair bit of turbo lag that meant rear tires in particular were under a lot of stress with more wheelspin and the cars weighed similar to now with less downforce that meant they were sliding around a lot more which obviously stresses tires a bit more.

      it’s just that indycar followed the f1 route of artificially higher degredation tires, something that is especially apparent on the ovals the past 5-6 years where they can push & run close for a handful of laps before having to drop back which strings the field out & forces more of a single file line as tires start to overheat and degrade.

      not asking for a return of pack racing but something like we used to see on ovals in the cart days would be nice where drivers could push more, run closer to setup overtakes and run multiple lines.

      1. Not sure CART era cars had less downforce than today’s cars especially since the significant reduction after the manufacturer aero kit era, but they certainly had much more HP and used significantly harder / less grippy tires. So i’d say similar weight and aero performance, more HP for CART, more grip from tires for modern cars for generally similar overall performance. If we’d go back to harder tires, modern cars would just be way too slow. The aborted new ICE engines should’ve addressed that but sadly it was not to be.

  2. If Lando wouldn’t have screwed up, McLaren could have had their first double wins on the same day in F1 and IndyCar. Congrats Pato, good job McLaren!

  3. I see what you did with the title there.

  4. Perez his Mexican sponsors might wanna sponsor Pato O’ward in the Red Bull.

    Perez needs to retire

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