RINUS VEEKAY’S FIRST CAREER VICTORY AND ROMAIN GROSJEAN’S FIRST SERIES PODIUM
Fantastic weekend in Indianapolis for VeeKay’s victory, Grosjean’s podium, and Palou’s second podium.
Rinus VeeKay (NO.21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) a 20-year-old Dutchman, took his first career victory in GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis. He became the fifth winner in five races in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series. By 4.951seconds, VeeKay denied the polesitter, Romain Grosjean (NO.51 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda) to take his first series victory in NTT Indycar Series.
VeeKay passed Grosjean on Lap 45, with a warmer, softer set of tyres forcing him to the second and led the race with 33laps until the chequered flag. Alex Paulo (NO.10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) was finished in third. He successfully held off Josef Newgarden (NO.2 Team Penske Chevrolet) to claim the final podium spot who had been putting Palou under pressure since Lap 70.
Romain Grosjean won his first pole position since he was in GP2 and a podium finish since Spa 2015 in Formula 1. He was leading the GMR Grand Prix with 44laps completed. Grosjean was attacked from the inside right-hand turn at Turn 12 on Lap 45 by VeeKay who had already pitted six laps earlier. Grosjean lost time because he had the battle to pass Juan Pablo Montoya (NO.86 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) and also with Takuma Sato (NO.30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda) who passed him to unlap himself, and he couldn’t get passed around Sebastien Bourdais (NO.14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises) who was running on with new tyres.
“Every series is different, and you’ve got blue flag issues everywhere,” said Grosjean who just in the third race in the IndyCar race. “In Formula 1, I was shown the blue flags quite a bit over the last few years and it was terrible for us! The leader complained that it wasn’t good enough.”
“Today I wish blue flags were shown more often because I was the guy that was chasing them, but it’s the rule that IndyCar use.”
“Is there room for improvement? Probably. Is there a perfect solution, but definitely traffic cost us the win today,” he added.
However, as it happened, an incident happened on the opening lap at Turn 1 that involved a few cars. Conor Daly (NO.20 Team Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) was tagged and sent onto the grass by Simon Pagenaud (NO.22 Team Penske Chevrolet). Pato O’Ward (NO.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) was also sent into the runoff zone, while Alexander Rossi (NO.27 Andretti Autosport Honda) and Felix Rosenqvist (NO.7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) also got onto the grass but managed to rejoin the running up. Scott Dixon (NO.9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) narrowly avoided the incident and got forced down into 19th place. All of the drivers involved managed to finish the race until the chequered flag.
The next Grand Prix will continue with the Indy 500 presented by Gainbridge, the 2.5-mile oval course race on Sunday, May 30 at 11 A.M. ET. The third oval race of the NTT IndyCar Series, with a total range of 200 laps.