Juan Pablo Montoya showed just why he was once the dominating force in American open-wheel racing as he emerged from a thrilling three-way battle with Team Penske team-mate Will Power and Target Chip Ganassi’s Scott Dixon to take victory in the prestigious Indy 500.
Montoya’s victory, which comes 15 years after his first success at the Brickyard, did not come without drama, as he fell back to the rear of the field when Simona de Silvestro hit him from behind under yellows while he also overshot his marks at his second pit stop.
The Colombian returned to IndyCar full-time last season and finished fifth in the 500, but the 39-year-old joined the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi, Al Unser Jr and the late Dan Wheldon in becoming a two-time winner of the great race. Only Helio Castroneves has more wins at Indianapolis of the current active drivers.
The race began as it meant to go on, with the field barely making it around Turn One before the with caution of the day as Sage Karam, Takuma Sato and Ryan Briscoe were all caught up in a crash.
The most serious accident on the track came when Jack Hawksworth spun into Sebastian Saavedra and left Stefano Coletti with nowhere to go other than to plough into Saavedra’s stranded car. Saavedra was taken to hospital for evaluation on a foot injury, although it was confirmed it was not serious and he would need to be assessed before being allowed to race again.
There was another worrying moment in the pit lane when all three Dale Coyne Racing cars ended up colliding. James Davison was released straight into the path of Pippa Mann, who was already suffering from injuries sustained in a nasty practice crash, and the collision sent Davison’s car bouncing into the pit box ahead of him, where Tristian Vaultier was parked and his mechanics servicing his Honda.
Two crew members were hurt in the accident, though one was treated at the in-field medical centre and released soon after. The other was taken to a nearby hospital with ankle injuries.
The final restart took place with 15 laps to go as Power and Montoya led Dixon and his Ganassi team-mate Charlie Kimball. The front three would spend the next 10 laps exchanging the lead nearly every lap, before Power pulled away out in front and Montoya went with him.
With Dixon out of the picture, Montoya made his move on the outside of Turn One three laps from home. Power fought back though, and attempted to pass his team-mate in the same position, only to lift out of the move. Despite chasing Montoya throughout the final lap, Power was unable to pull out of the slip-stream before the yard of bricks that signals the finish line, and it was left for Montoya to celebrate with the traditional pint of milk on Victory Lane.
VANDOORNE CONTINUES GRIP ON GP2 TO SHOW F1 CREDENTIALS
Stoffel Vandoorne continued his promising GP2 title challenge with victory on the streets of Monaco in Friday’s feature race as he utilised a bold tyre strategy to hold off pole-sitter Alexander Rossi by a comfortable margin.
The McLaren protégé appeared to be on the radar for F1 at the start of the season, although the arrival of Fernando Alonso ended any hope the Belgian had of a shock call-up with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen also in consideration.
However, he leads the GP2 standings after winning every feature race this season so far, adding to his victories in in Bahrain and Spain. Both he and Rossi soon emerged out in front after overtaking early leader Raffaele Marciello, who elected to start on the super-soft compound and swooped around the outside of turn one to take the lead.
Rossi led Vandoorne into the pits for their one and only stop, but it was the Belgian who led out as his ART mechanics did their part for the day, and with the hard-tyre shod Julian Leal and Sergio Canamasas jumping Arthur Pic in the pits it meant the lead duo were free from pressure form the chasing pack.
In the end, Vandoore took victory by over six seconds from Rossi, with Canamasas finishing third despite coming home behind Leal on the road after the Colombian was given a 10-second penalty for colliding with Sergey Sirotkin in the pit lane.
In Saturday’s sprint race, New Zealand’s Richie Stanaway beat pole-sitter Marciello off the line and led from start to finish to secure his first GP2 Series victory and a maiden win for Status GP in the premier F1 support class.
It means that Vandoorne leads the GP2 Series by a healthy 44 points over Rossi.
SYKES POWERS TO DONINGTON DOUBLE
Tom Sykes enjoyed the home comforts to clinch a World Superbike double at Donington Park as British riders dominated the podium in both races.
In race one, Sykes held off a charging Jonathan Rea to take victory with Wales’ Chaz Davies coming home in third, and the second race saw an exact repeat of the top-three, although Sykes’ winning margin was increased to eight seconds.
Rea’s double-second finish means he extends his lead in the Riders’ Championship to 101 points over Englishman Leon Haslam, but Sykes moves to within a single point of Haslam’s 179 tally after holding Rea off in what was a thrilling and often tempestuous affair over the 23-lap race.Reuse content