Power keeps Rahal at bay to win Detroit Race 1

Power keeps Rahal at bay to win Detroit Race 1

31 May 2014 – Will Power fended off a charging Graham Rahal to win the first race at Belle Isle in the Dual at Detroit on Saturday. Coming from P16 on the grid, Power's Penske team employed a clever pit-stop strategy to get ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, and with some helpful caution periods, Power found himself leading the field with ten laps to go, and he never looked back.

After starting in P9, Rahal drove a flawless race, tracking down Power in the closing stages of the first Dual but ultimately being unable to get by on the bumpy road course. Satisfied with a rare podium finish, Rahal hopes to do one better tomorrow for the second race of the weekend.

Also finding his way to the podium was 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan. The Brazilian had started the race just in front of Rahal and managed to stay clean on several dicey restarts on the afternoon, finishing five seconds behind the American.

Fellow Brazilian Castroneves led the field to the green flag after stalling in pit lane at the start of the formation lap. IndyCar rules allow the car to resume its position if it can reach its rightful grid spot before the field completes one pace lap. With that hiccup out of his system, Castroneves led the first third of the race before two caution periods began to divide the field on pit strategy.

With many drivers originally opting for a three-stop strategy, a fascinating battle began to develop after Simon Pagenaud was squeezed into a wall by Power to bring out the first caution. The second one was thrown when Mike Conway, who was running in fourth at the time, understeered into the wall, ending his race. The dejected Bromley native climbed from his car and rested against the barrier, head in his hands and looking a little sore from the impact.

By the end of the second caution, all of the field had pitted except Rahal and Marco Andretti. Jack Hawksworth, who had been running P2 after jumping Hinchcliffe at the start, disappointingly saw his left front brake rotor break, so he was sent tumbling down the order and was soon five laps down. He would be one of several drivers to be stuck in pit lane for various mechanical reasons, thus pushing him out of contention.

Rahal was the first to pit on Lap 27, switching from black to red tyres, with Andretti following suit the next time around the Belle Isle circuit. It appeared that these two were going to attempt a two-stop strategy, unlike most of the rest of the field. This handed the lead to Power, who remained on a three-stop, albeit a few laps different than Castroneves. Helio would inherit the lead around the midway point of the race after Power pitted on Lap 31.

A few laps later, Josef Newgarden found his way into the tyre wall. In doing so, the standing water inside the rubber sloshed out on track, lengthening what would have been a short caution so the jet driers could clean the racing surface.

Around this point, it appeared that the two-stoppers would have the advantage since most of the leaders had pitted 20 laps earlier. By the time the track went green, numbers were being crunched up and down the pit lane to determine fuel loads and various permutations.

Some, like Ryan Briscoe, chose to bet on another caution coming late in the race, but when Mikhail Aleshin was spun by James Hinchcliffe with 15 laps to go, it looked like Briscoe and several others would fall just short of their fuel marks.

Castroneves had just made his stop on Lap 47, so the caution was actually quite detrimental to his strategy, but he managed to work his way back up to P5 by the end of the race. 

Will Power had pitted on Lap 54, just one lap before the last caution came out, which meant that he was soon back into the top five when the rest of the field pitted for the last time. When Briscoe stayed out and took the green flag on the restart, Power eventually managed to get around him (even though he knew Briscoe would have to pit).

By putting the Penske car between him and Rahal, Power was able to build a lead that turned out to be insurmountable, despite Rahal closing to within a couple of lengths after Briscoe pitted. Even having one more Push-to-Pass to use on the final lap, Rahal couldn't get by the Aussie and finished just 0.3s back as Power collected his second win of the year – thus awarding him second in the championship standings.

Championship leader Ryan Hunter-Reay started the race on the last row after hitting the wall in qualifying.  He led some laps after a long stint on black tyres, but he would only manage P16 at the chequered flag.

Race 2 of the Dual at Detroit will take place at the same time tomorrow.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 23 November 2014

  2. 17:54

    Latest F1 photos: Sunday in Abu Dhabi

    F1
  3. Alonso to confirm future plans 'very soon' 17:52

    Alonso to confirm future plans 'very soon'

    Fernando Alonso says he will be able to announce his future plans "very soon", after completing his final race with...

    F1
  4. Stevens pleased to finish debut race 17:26

    Stevens pleased to finish debut race

    Caterham's Will Stevens says he was pleased to achieve his target of finishing his debut Formula 1 race at the Abu Dhabi...

    F1
  5. Vettel: It's been an incredible journey 16:56

    Vettel: It's been an incredible journey

    Sebastian Vettel was left to rue a disappointing end to "an incredible journey" with Red Bull at the Abu Dhabi Grand...

    F1
  6. I haven't finished yet, says Button 16:29

    I haven't finished yet, says Button

    Jenson Button says he did all he could during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to prove that he deserves to remain at McLaren in...

    F1
  7. Massa says 2014 'just the beginning' 15:58

    Massa says 2014 'just the beginning'

    Felipe Massa says the 2014 season is "just the beginning" of a more competitive period for the Williams team. Massa...

    F1
  8. Rosberg: Hamilton deserved to win title 15:37

    Rosberg: Hamilton deserved to win title

    Nico Rosberg says Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton deserved to beat him to the 2014 world title. Hamilton usurped...

    F1
  9. Hamilton hails 'best start' of F1 career 15:21

    Hamilton hails 'best start' of F1 career

    Lewis Hamilton described the start he made at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as "probably the best" of his Formula 1...

    F1
  10. 15:09

    In full: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race result

    F1
  11. Hamilton secures title with Abu Dhabi win 14:49

    Hamilton secures title with Abu Dhabi win

    Lewis Hamilton secured the 2014 Formula 1 title with victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading home Williams duo Felipe...

    F1
  12. 12:38

    Follow the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix live!

    F1
  13. 11:10

    Latest GP2 photos: Sunday in Abu Dhabi

    GP2
  14. Coletti takes final GP2 win of 2014 11:09

    Coletti takes final GP2 win of 2014

    Stefano Coletti claimed victory for Racing Engineering in the final round of the GP2 season in Abu Dhabi. Coletti assumed...

    GP2
  15. 10:52

    Revised starting grid for the Abu Dhabi GP

    F1
  16. Red Bull duo to start race from pit lane 10:51

    Red Bull duo to start race from pit lane

    Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo will start Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the pit lane, after...

    F1
  17. FIA confirms drive-through for Grosjean 10:07

    FIA confirms drive-through for Grosjean

    The FIA has confirmed that Romain Grosjean will be forced to take a drive-through penalty within the first three laps of the...

    F1
  18. 09:34

    Latest GP3 photos: Sunday in Abu Dhabi

    GP3
  19. Niederhauser wins season-ending GP3 race 09:33

    Niederhauser wins season-ending GP3 race

    Arden's Patric Niederhauser strolled to victory in the final race of the GP3 season in Abu Dhabi. Niederhauser eased into...

    GP3
  20. Force India to present 2015 livery in Mexico 09:25

    Force India to present 2015 livery in Mexico

    Force India has revealed that it will present its 2015 livery at an event in Mexico at the end of January. It comes after...

    F1
  21. Video of the Day: World record truck jump 05:03

    Video of the Day: World record truck jump

    The Lotus Formula 1 team and partner EMC set a new truck jump world record in spectacular fashion.

    F1
  22. Saturday 22 November 2014

  23. 17:30

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday in Abu Dhabi

    F1
  24. Red Bull drivers excluded from qualifying 17:29

    Red Bull drivers excluded from qualifying

    Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have been excluded from qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after...

    F1
  25. Red Bull referred to stewards over front wing 16:48

    Red Bull referred to stewards over front wing

    Red Bull has been referred to the stewards after governing body the FIA declared its front wing illegal at the Abu Dhabi...

    F1
  26. Alonso expects 'uphill struggle' in race 16:20

    Alonso expects 'uphill struggle' in race

    Fernando Alonso says he expects to endure an "uphill struggle" on his final appearance for Ferrari in the Abu Dhabi Grand...

    F1
  27. 15:49

    Latest GP2 photos: Saturday in Abu Dhabi

    GP2
  28. Vandoorne dominates in Abu Dhabi win 15:48

    Vandoorne dominates in Abu Dhabi win

    McLaren youngster Stoffel Vandoorne dominated proceedings to claim his fourth victory of the season in the GP2 Feature Race...

    GP2
  29. Stevens left to rue Turn 17 mistake 15:37

    Stevens left to rue Turn 17 mistake

    Will Stevens was left to ponder what might have been after an error tarnished his final lap in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix...

    F1
  30. Bottas: Beating Ferrari remains the goal 15:22

    Bottas: Beating Ferrari remains the goal

    Valtteri Bottas says securing third in the Constructors' standings, ahead of Ferrari, remains Williams' target at the Abu...

    F1
  31. Force India confirms 'multi-year' Pérez deal 15:06

    Force India confirms 'multi-year' Pérez deal

    Force India has confirmed that Sergio Pérez will remain with the team next season and beyond, after the Mexican signed a new...

    F1
  32. Hamilton: I'm still there for the fight 14:51

    Hamilton: I'm still there for the fight

    Lewis Hamilton says he is pleased to be "there for the fight" after qualifying second for the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand...

    F1
  33. Rosberg: Pole just a small step towards title 14:38

    Rosberg: Pole just a small step towards title

    Nico Rosberg says pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is just a "small step" towards his ultimate goal of claiming...

    F1
  34. 14:08

    In full: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results

    F1
  35. Rosberg on pole for Abu Dhabi title decider 14:07

    Rosberg on pole for Abu Dhabi title decider

    Nico Rosberg stormed to pole position during Saturday evening's qualifying session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, comfortably...

    F1
  36. Van der Garde leaves Abu Dhabi early 13:31

    Van der Garde leaves Abu Dhabi early

    Sauber reserve driver Giedo van der Garde has left the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix prematurely due to the team contravening the...

    F1
  37. 12:45

    Follow qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

    F1
  38. Horner eyes new F1 engines for 2016 12:11

    Horner eyes new F1 engines for 2016

    Mercedes' rivals are eyeing significant changes to the power unit regulations if the German manufacturer refuses to agree on...

    F1
  39. 11:08

    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Free Practice 3 results

    F1
  40. Rosberg moves ahead in final practice 11:05

    Rosberg moves ahead in final practice

    Nico Rosberg topped the timesheets during Saturday afternoon's final practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, moving...

    F1
  41. 09:46

    Follow FP3 for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

    F1
  42. 08:42

    Latest GP3 photos: Saturday in Abu Dhabi

    GP3
more news