After mistake in 2012, Sato learns lesson to win Indy 500

May 30, 2017, 05:40
After mistake in 2012, Sato learns lesson to win Indy 500

Fernando Alonso has suggested he will return to America to bid once again for Indy 500 victory.

Formula One star Fernando Alonso wowing the gallery until his Honda engine blew up, one of three to do so.

Sato, a former Formula One driver, is in his eighth season in IndyCar.

He even drove for Andretti Autosport. "Well, when I saw the 77 went into the wall, I knew it would bounce back". "But he's just such a gentleman and such a fair player". "I wanted to keep supporting the children until they become adults, and hopefully one of them becomes a professional race driver".

"Fantastic race", exclaimed the 40-year-old Sato. He's won five times at Indy - two straight and three of the last four - with other drivers behind the wheel.

While it didn't end the way Alonso hoped, seeing his number atop the famous scoring pylon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a thrill he won't forget. The Andretti camp expanded to six cars for the 500 to add Alonso, a two-time F1 champion who brought massive European interest to the race.

The main issue facing Andretti Autosport was the reliability of its Honda engines.

There were 35 lead changes among a race-record 15 drivers.

What happened after that was more than can properly be explained.

Alonso opted to take on Indy - and perhaps gain the second leg of a rare motorsports triology of the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans - rather than contest Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix with his underperforming McLaren team.

"I felt the noise, the engine friction, I backed off and I saw the smoke and, yeah, it's a shame", Alonso said.

"I came here basically to challenge myself, prove myself", said Alonso, who closed his news conference by chugging on a small carton of milk to much laughter.

"There wasn't a auto that I came up on that I couldn't get by at will". I can really trust him coming from the outside. But my manager said, "Come on, you've got five minutes to go for the interview.' OK, so now it's real". It's going to be huge. "We avoided disaster and we nearly got (win) No. 4". "In 2012, going into Turn 1 with Dario was a big risk". He won 42 IndyCar races in his career, third-most in series history, but never at The Brickyard.

"I think Michael did a great job in terms of preparing all the teams, got things together, found the most competitive drivers in the field, and that's why I was very happy, extremely happy to be chosen by him to become his driver", Sato said Monday.

Castroneves' Team Penske entry was the only Chevrolet capable of racing with the Hondas, but the Hondas started expiring with alarming regularity in the final 50 laps, eliminating Hunter-Reay (28 laps led), Charlie Kimball and Alonso.

For the second time since 2014, Castroneves was denied a fourth Indy win and had to settle for a runner-up finish.

Sato started fourth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was in the mix at the front of the pack for much of the race, sitting second for the final restart with 12 laps to go.

And despite the steep learning curve, and the added demands of United States media that his trans-Atlantic tilt involved, Alonso said he enjoyed the race and the weeks of preparation that led up to it.

Dale Coyne Racing rookie Ed Jones finished a career-best third. Two-time victor Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth.

Having sat out Monaco last weekend, the Spaniard tasted the lead of the fabled oval race several times on Sunday but retired with a Honda engine failure.

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