09/20/2021 at 1:08 AM CEST
The American Colton Herta, from Andretti Autosport, won the IndyCar Grand Prix of Monterrey for the second time in a row this Sunday, and joined his father, Bryan, who also achieved victory twice at the Laguna Seca circuit (California).
Herta, who also won pole, dominated from start to finish the race in which the Spaniard Alex Palou finished second and continues to lead the championship with only the last race to be held next Sunday in Long Beach.
The native of Valencia, California, won Sunday from pole, just as he did in 2019 when IndyCar raced for the last time on the extensive permanent circuit, for its second victory of the season.
He tied his father with a pair of wins at Laguna Seca, but what is more important, reached the fifth win in competition something that his father, who had four in his entire IndyCar career, could not achieve.
“This place is so awesome, it’s my favorite track in North America,” declared Herta.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Palou had a smart and consistent race, without risking, that allowed him to finish second and extend his advantage in the IndyCar classification from 25 points to 35 over the Mexican Pato O’Ward, of Arrow McLaren SP.
The 24-year-old Spaniard needed a break because he had never seen the Long Beach street circuit before where the title will be decided with the last 50 points at stake.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean made a spectacular overtake at the end of the race as he pushed through traffic on the 11-turn, 3,601-kilometer circuit.
Grosjean made a career-high 27 passes and seemed to have a chance to catch the leaders until struggled to get past Jimmie Johnson’s car.
Johnson was told by radio to have Grosjean work for the position in order to protect Palou, his teammate at Chip Ganassi Racing.
Grosjean, in his first season in IndyCar after leaving Formula One, and Johnson, his first year after seven NASCAR championships, hit the cars around the corner when both drivers refused to budge.
Johnson briefly deviated but recovered, while Grosjean cleared it and set his sights on finishing higher than third. However, he could not make up any more ground, but was delighted with his third podium of the season.
“It was a great day, incredible,” said Grosjean., who apologized for contacting Johnson. “Laguna Seca, I love you, that’s all I can say.”
Johnson, meanwhile, had his best IndyCar race of the season. He finished seventeenth, his previous best result was nineteenth, but he made some quality passes with four-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Brazilian Helio Castroneves, among whom he chased.
Johnson also posted comparable lap times.
O’Ward did his best and ran third behind Palou for much of the race, but had problems with his black tires and settled for fifth place.
“The important thing is that we stay in the fight and we still have a race to decide the title,” he said. O’Ward. “I still think we are ready to win the championship because of everything we did for the rest of the season.”.