Formula 1 Racing

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

Pato O'Ward

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

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