Power's mistake gives victory to Hunter-Reay at wet, wild Barber

Power's mistake gives victory to Hunter-Reay at wet, wild Barber

28 April 2014 – Ryan Hunter-Reay needed something about his season to change, and judging by the strange series of events this weekend, someone was listening.  Hunter-Reay's title hopes got a much-needed boost after winning the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the second straight year after a long rain delay and a costly mistake from rival Will Power.

After heavy storms postponed the race for three hours, IndyCar announced that the 90-lap event would be shortened to a timed 100 minutes, and as a result, no one wasted any time attempting overtakes and bold strategy decisions.

Hunter-Reay started third on a wet track behind pole sitter Power and Andretti Autosport teammate James Hinchcliffe. The 2012 series champion immediately grabbed second place, but it was too late to track down Power, who was soon seven seconds ahead of the field.

But in the tricky, damp conditions, Power misjudged his entry into the hairpin on lap 16 and slid out into the gravel, narrowly missing a tyre wall.  That was all the opportunity the American needed, slipping by his rival and never looking back, winning the race under caution after a late crash by Mikhail Aleshin.  Hunter-Reay now sits second in the points standings, gaining three spots and trailing Power by just 18 points.

Power would rejoin the track in second after his incident, but through the wildly varying pit stop strategies, he would slip down the order and finish off the podium in P5.

Late in the race, a strong run from Marco Andretti would lift him up to second place in front of Scott Dixon, who had finished P2 in each of the last four years.

Several laps into the event, big movers included Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya.  Kanaan had started last, but six laps in he had gained nine spots.  Late in the race he would climb as high as P4, but his final pit stop relegated him to a solid top ten finish in ninth.

Montoya had expressed concern this morning that he had not driven in the wet in many years, but for the middle part of the race his lap times were identical to the leaders.  Strong overtakes after a good battle with Dixon elevated him to fourth, but his race soon unraveled.

As many still struggled with the drying conditions, Oriol Servia took the first risk and went onto slick tyres.  Moments later Aleshin was hit by Sebastien Bourdais, sending the Russian rookie into a spin that would stall the car and bring out the first caution.

The entire field pitted and switched to dry tyres---a move that proved too costly to Carlos Munoz, who spun on the out lap and contacted the wall, prolonging the yellow.

After losing three spots on his pit stop, Montoya was punted off track by Sebastien Bourdais on the ensuing restart, remaining in the gravel hoping the safety crew would re-fire his engine.  Eventually they did, but he wound up in P21.  For his two incidents, Bourdais would later be given a drive-through penalty.

Sebastian Saavedra chose not to pit during that round of stops, and he would lead the race on wet tyres long past the formation of a dry line.  His gamble wouldn't pay off, as he soon pitted under green and finished P18.  As a result, Hunter-Reay regained the lead while Marco Andretti made quick work of Power and eventually Dixon.  Dixon would also jump Power on the final round of pit stops to claim the final step of the podium.

When Hunter-Reay made his last stop of the race on lap 49, Marco stayed out and set a quick lap, but a slow stop meant that his teammate would regain the lead while Marco's team reconnected the in-car radio (which, by rule, must be reconnected as soon as the team realizes it's come undone).  Andretti would still get out in front of Dixon, but his last chance for victory slipped away as a result.  For Hunter-Reay, the final gap meant that he would finish the race without using a single one of his "Push-to-Pass" boosts.

With six minutes remaining, Aleshin lost control and hit the turn 13 tyre barrier, guaranteeing that the race would end under caution.  Time expired as the field completed 69 of the scheduled 90 laps, with Andretti Autosport claiming its first 1-2 finish since the Iowa Corn Indy 250 last June.  It was Hunter-Reay's 12th IndyCar victory and his first of 2014.

The field now travels to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in three days where they will be testing ahead of the upcoming Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the oval's road course.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Tuesday 3 May 2016

  2. Video of the Day: IndyCar Space Camp 05:16

    Video of the Day: IndyCar Space Camp

    Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi recently attended the US Space & Rocket Center's Space Camp.

    Indy
  3. Monday 2 May 2016

  4. 17:02

    Book F1 tickets and join the action live!

    F1
  5. Winners and Losers: Russian Grand Prix 16:42

    Winners and Losers: Russian Grand Prix

    Nico Rosberg extended his championship lead with a seventh straight victory while Lewis Hamilton completed a Mercedes 1-2.…

    F1
  6. Mann back with Coyne for Indy 500 14:57

    Mann back with Coyne for Indy 500

    Pippa Mann will take part in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing for the fourth consecutive season as part of the team's…

    Indy
  7. Haryanto says he had 'nowhere to go' 14:18

    Haryanto says he had 'nowhere to go'

    Manor driver Rio Haryanto says that he was left with "nowhere to go" as he became the third retiree of the first-lap drama in…

    F1
  8. Manufacturer 'reluctance' delays 24th entry 13:44

    Manufacturer 'reluctance' delays 24th entry

    MotoGP's field will not increase to 24 bikes in 2017 due to what the championship has described as a "reluctance" from…

    MotoGP
  9. Button: Sochi complex needs changes 13:36

    Button: Sochi complex needs changes

    Jenson Button reckons officials need to look at revising the Turn 2/3 complex at Sochi Autodrom after another dramatic start to…

    F1
  10. Pérez left wanting more after puncture 12:03

    Pérez left wanting more after puncture

    Sergio Pérez was left wanting more from the Russian Grand Prix, despite scoring his first points of the campaign, after early…

    F1
  11. Video: Nico Rosberg's post-race blog 11:12

    Video: Nico Rosberg's post-race blog

    Join Nico Rosberg as he boards a plane home with fellow drivers after winning the Russian Grand Prix.

    F1
  12. Toro Rosso duo lament 'unfortunate' race 10:22

    Toro Rosso duo lament 'unfortunate' race

    Toro Rosso drivers Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jr. were left to rue what might have been after points finishes slipped away…

    F1
  13. Grosjean: Still 'many things' to improve 09:32

    Grosjean: Still 'many things' to improve

    Haas' Romain Grosjean expressed his satisfaction at returning to the points at the Russian Grand Prix, though says there are…

    F1
  14. Wolff: Mercedes feared double retirement 08:48

    Wolff: Mercedes feared double retirement

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed that the manufacturer briefly feared that neither Nico Rosberg nor Lewis Hamilton would…

    F1
  15. Video of the Day: Kvyat learns bobsleigh 05:28

    Video of the Day: Kvyat learns bobsleigh

    Red Bull driver Daniil Kvyat met up with the Russian National bobsleigh team ahead of his home race.

    F1
  16. Sunday 1 May 2016

  17. Ricciardo: I expect apology from Kvyat 17:50

    Ricciardo: I expect apology from Kvyat

    Daniel Ricciardo believes Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat owes him an apology after triggering a first lap collision at the…

    F1
  18. Williams pair positive despite missing podium 17:29

    Williams pair positive despite missing podium

    Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa described the team's Russian Grand Prix as "positive" despite missing out on…

    F1
  19. Magnussen pleased to end points drought 16:44

    Magnussen pleased to end points drought

    Renault driver Kevin Magnussen ended his and the manufacturer's points drought with a spirited drive to seventh place at the…

    F1
  20. 16:32

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Sunday in Sochi

    F1
  21. Ocon to get FP1 outing at Spanish GP 16:29

    Ocon to get FP1 outing at Spanish GP

    Renault test and reserve driver Esteban Ocon will take part in free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix later this month, the…

    F1
  22. Räikkönen admits Ferrari 'not fast enough' 16:15

    Räikkönen admits Ferrari 'not fast enough'

    Kimi Räikkönen admitted that Ferrari had no answer to Mercedes' pace as he settled for a podium finish in the Russian Grand…

    F1
  23. Alonso: Points now a regular target 16:14

    Alonso: Points now a regular target

    Fernando Alonso is confident that McLaren can now target points on a regular basis after both he and team-mate Jenson Button…

    F1
  24. Hamilton 'not full throttle' on straights 15:54

    Hamilton 'not full throttle' on straights

    Lewis Hamilton says he had to avoid using full throttle on the straights as another technical issue struck his car in the…

    F1
  25. Kvyat apologises to Vettel for contact 15:40

    Kvyat apologises to Vettel for contact

    Daniil Kvyat has apologised to Sebastian Vettel for twice colliding with his rival on the opening lap of Sunday's Russian Grand…

    F1
  26. Rosberg: I'm still taking it 'race-by-race' 15:30

    Rosberg: I'm still taking it 'race-by-race'

    Nico Rosberg insists he is taking a "race-by-race" approach to the 2016 title battle, despite extending his lead with another…

    F1
  27. 14:46

    In full: Russian Grand Prix race results

    F1
  28. Rosberg heads Mercedes 1-2 in Russia 14:41

    Rosberg heads Mercedes 1-2 in Russia

    Nico Rosberg continued his 100 per cent race record in 2016 with victory in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix, while Lewis Hamilton…

    F1
  29. Vettel: Nothing I could have done differently 13:39

    Vettel: Nothing I could have done differently

    Sebastian Vettel expressed his frustration over first lap contact at the Russian Grand Prix which left the German driver…

    F1
  30. 12:41

    Follow the Russian Grand Prix live!

    F1
  31. 12:06

    Starting grid for the Russian Grand Prix

    F1
  32. Mercedes avoids penalty for Hamilton 12:03

    Mercedes avoids penalty for Hamilton

    Lewis Hamilton will start the Russian Grand Prix from 10th on the grid, after Mercedes mechanics worked on his car overnight and…

    F1
  33. Gutiérrez hopes for 'surprises' in Russia 10:36

    Gutiérrez hopes for 'surprises' in Russia

    Esteban Gutiérrez concedes Haas will be reliant on "surprises" further up the grid if the team is to score points at the…

    F1
  34. Pirelli still expecting a one-stop race 09:53

    Pirelli still expecting a one-stop race

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli still expects a one-stop strategy to be the preferred option during the Russian Grand Prix…

    F1
  35. Palmer sure Renault has solved issues 08:42

    Palmer sure Renault has solved issues

    Renault rookie Jolyon Palmer is confident that the outfit has addressed the issues which he believes have held him back across…

    F1
  36. Video of the Day: Sauber fans' questions 05:22

    Video of the Day: Sauber fans' questions

    Sauber drivers Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson answer questions from the fans at the Russian Grand Prix.

    F1
  37. Saturday 30 April 2016

  38. 17:42

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday in Sochi

    F1
  39. Hamilton reprimanded for Q1 offence 17:38

    Hamilton reprimanded for Q1 offence

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has escaped with a reprimand for his bollard-related offence during Saturday afternoon's…

    F1
  40. Ricciardo eyes battle with Williams 16:34

    Ricciardo eyes battle with Williams

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is hopeful that the outfit will be able to fight with Williams at the Russian Grand Prix, after…

    F1
  41. McLaren-Honda 'so close' to Q3 - Button 16:25

    McLaren-Honda 'so close' to Q3 - Button

    Jenson Button says McLaren-Honda is "so close" to making it through to the top 10 shootout for the first time since the parties…

    F1
  42. Sainz Jr. hits out at Kvyat for Q2 driving 15:45

    Sainz Jr. hits out at Kvyat for Q2 driving

    Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr. has accused Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat of impeding one of his laps during qualifying for the Russian…

    F1
  43. Vettel hopeful of race-day fight back 15:22

    Vettel hopeful of race-day fight back

    Sebastian Vettel is hopeful of recovering lost ground during the Russian Grand Prix after dropping down the grid for a gearbox…

    F1
  44. Bottas achieves 'maximum' with P2 15:07

    Bottas achieves 'maximum' with P2

    Valtteri Bottas has described his front row slot in Russia as the "maximum" result possible as he capitalised on issues for…

    F1
more news