“I couldn’t have done anything”

“I couldn’t have done anything.” The dream of the Indianapolis 500 was blown away for Alex Palou. Literally. Under the first caution of the test, caused by a Sting Ray-Robb impact on lap 92, everyone took the opportunity to make the third stop and enter the pits en masse. The Spaniard had the race under control and, even with the best drawer for stops (benefit of getting the pole), it was not without surprises. Bad luck returned to accompany him for another year. In a very aggressive exit, VeeKay lost control of his car, colliding with Palou, who was still on pit road. A ridiculous mistake for a pilot with so much experience and that left the Ganassi man against the wall, with all his options thrown overboard.

Fortunately, his mechanics were quick to get the car back on track and repair the car’s front wing one lap later at a new stop. The damage was not great, but Palou returned to the track in a 25th position that would be very difficult to overcome. He was able to make it to fourth place thanks to the yellow and red flags, although he knows little after leading up to 36 laps from the start of the test. And, above all, having in his hands one of the best cars on the starting grid. “We started very well, we were managing the fuel as we wanted, our car was quite good,” Palou told NBC Sports after the race, from which he emerged as the IndyCar leader. “We had one of the best cars today. We wouldn’t finish fourth if it wasn’t because we have this car.” Add.

“Since then (the crash) we had to change our mentality and start from scratch. I had some luck with the yellow ones to be able to come back. It was hard for everyone”, commented Chip Ganassi’s man, happy to be able to finish in a creditable fourth since, the truth, he knew very little seeing what he could expect. “I went from 30th to 4th, which speaks of the pace I had”, insists Álex, who had to “pull to the end” with what they had: “We needed 50 more laps to achieve it, but it could have been much worse after that contact”. About the crash, the Spaniard could not do anything and assumes that it is part of the races: “It’s fine when it’s my fault or the team’s, because everyone makes mistakes. But when there’s nothing you could have done differently, you feel bad and you feel bad for the team.”

VeeKay (left) touches Palou (right) during the Indianapolis 500.
VeeKay (left) touches Palou (right) during the Indianapolis 500.Doug McSchoolerUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Featuring

“Maybe in 2024 we’ll go out in the middle and win the race…”

Palou also pulls irony to show his anger with VeeKay for the action that ended his chances of victory: “The advantage of being on pole is that you can drive straight and avoid touches, and he was able to crash us from the side in the pitlane, which is quite difficult to do, but he did it. Let’s hope that next year we won’t be by his side.” And he insists that “we couldn’t have done anything” and that, despite everything, they had “a bit of luck with so many restarts at the end” to be able to finish the race in the top four. “I’m happy,” explains the Spaniard because “it wasn’t my team’s or mine’s compliance.”

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“We have been leading the race for two years in a row and we have had to drop to last place. Maybe next year we’ll start in the middle of the grid and win the race. I know you didn’t do it on purpose. It is better to let it go”, Palou settles on the accident and stays with the positive: is category leader and, although his chances of victory were very high, he admits that he has learned a lot “racing in front at the beginning, in the middle of the pack and then behind”. Lessons that he is already signing up to start working thinking about the 2024 edition in which he, he hopes, have “a little more luck”. Victory continues to resist, but Palou touches it with his fingertips.

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