Patricio (Pato) O’Ward took a thrilling win in the 2nd IndyCar race at Detroit Belle Isle, overtaking 4 cars in the last 8 laps to claim his 2nd win of the season, and for the first time in his career, takes the championship lead. After 8 races, O’Ward became the 1st repeat winner of the season, after his previous success in the 2nd race at Texas Motor Speedway, which means he now has a road course and an oval in his winning collection, with McLaren can celebrate, after the victory, and the news that Felix Rosenqvist has been given the all-clear, after his dramatic crash on Saturday.
Written by Danny Jones, edited by Janvi Unni
The race started with chaos immediately. Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon and Romain Grosjean all collided, but all got away unscathed, which also featured an incredible save from Dixon to keep it out the barrier. A few corners after, Sebastian Bourdais got all out of shape, which caused Max Chilton to pile into the back of the slowing James Hinchcliffe, and entered the tyre barrier a few corners later, after his front wing dislodged.
The race then settled into a rhythm, with polesitter Josef Newgarden holding a consistent gap over American, Colton Herta. Then, with just 10 laps to go, Romain Grosjean’s car caught fire (not as dramatically at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix), but he safely exited the car before extinguishing the flame. Then O’Ward, who had slowly made his way up from 16th on the grid found himself lying 5th with just 8 laps to go.
After the restart, O’Ward quickly dispatched of Graham Rahal, before passing championship rival Alex Palou, just 2 corners later. A lap later, he muscled his way past Colton Herta, before forcing his way past Josef Newgarden, with just 2 and a half laps to go, despite minor contact between the 2. Newgarden finished 2nd, when with 10 laps to go, it looked certain he would become the 8th different IndyCar winner in 2021, with Alex Palou rounding out the podium.
But the Detroit double header belonged to Pato O’Ward. A pole and 3rd place on Saturday, followed by a victory on Sunday propelled the 22-year-old Mexican into the championship lead for the 1st time in his short IndyCar career. O’Ward will test for McLaren F1 in Abu Dhabi after a previous bet with McLaren CEO Zak Brown, but he and the other drivers have the rest of the IndyCar season ahead, where they will head to Road America in just a week’s time.