If yesterday’s practice session and today’s GMR Grand Prix are any indications of how Alex Palou‘s month of May is going to go, then he is due for greatness.
After taking control of the race at Lap 62, Palou, who started P3 in his No. 10 Honda, used a combination of speed and strategy to outpace Pato O’Ward by over 16 seconds while leading 52 of the 85 laps to capture his first victory in the 2023 season at the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course on Saturday.
Let him cook 👨🍳.
Chef @AlexPalou was unstoppable today.#INDYCAR // #INDYGP pic.twitter.com/VoJyudmuwy
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) May 13, 2023
“We honestly knew we had a fast car since P1 (first practice) yesterday,” Palou said. “The car has been amazing all weekend. Once we knew we were starting on reds (Firestone alternate tires), I think we knew we were going to fight for the win.
“Amazing work by these guys. I just had to execute.”
Following Palou on the podium was O’Ward in his No. 5 Chevrolet, with Arrow McLaren teammate & 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi in the No. 7 finishing P3. It is worth noting this is Rossi’s first podium finish with Arrow McLaren. Pole winner Christian Lundgaard in his No. 45 Honda finished P4. Rounding out the top five was another Arrow McLaren entry, Felix Rosenqvist in the No.6
During the first 60+ laps of the race, a handful of drivers swapped P1 on the 14-turn, 2.4-mile road course. Teams throughout the day were trying to hit on the exact tire and fuel strategy that would work best for them. When Rossi turned over the lead to Palou on Lap 62 due to needing to pit, that’s when Palou went to work extending his lead over O’Ward lap by lap.
Hats off to them,” O’Ward said of Palou and the CGR team. “I just think they were extremely strong today. They really were. For us, we’re two, three and five as a team, and that’s pretty frickin’ phenomenal.
“The guys gave us a great race car. We were kind of just running our own race today. We were there fighting with Lundgaard and all of us teammates. Once I got clear, I had to minimize the gap I had to Alex, but I think they were very strong today. We were just hanging on there at the end, trying not to destroy our reds.”
With Palou winning today’s race, he moves him into the top spot in the NTT IndyCar Series points standings, 6 points ahead of O’Ward.
Next up is the 107th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 27th.