Helio makes it two wins in two days for Penske

Helio makes it two wins in two days for Penske

1 June 2014 – Despite several late-race restarts, no one had any answer for Helio Castroneves whenever a green flag would end a caution. His impeccable timing allowed him to cruise to a 1.7s victory over Penske team-mate Will Power in the second race of the weekend at the Belle Isle circuit. The Brazilian now moves into a tie with Rick Mears for 11th on the all-time IndyCar wins list.

Castroneves was the pole-sitter for yesterday's first Dual at Detroit race, but he was unable to convert that into a victory. Instead he came from third on the grid today using an effective three-stop strategy (the same which worked for Power en route to his win yesterday) mostly on black tyres. It was Helio's third win at Belle Isle and a strong shot in the arm for his championship hopes after narrowly missing out on his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory a week ago.

His championship rivals saw mixed results in their weekends. For Power, a win and a second place gave him a strong haul of points despite a penalty in the second Dual race for causing a caution on the first lap with an ill-timed pass across the kerbs. His wide exit pushed Josef Newgarden into the wall and into Graham Rahal, also collecting Justin Wilson. Charlie Kimball almost added his name to the list, but he bailed out onto the escape road and drove a strong race to finish third.

For Ryan Hunter-Reay, his miserable weekend continued. He had troubles in nearly every session of the weekend, and while he hoped to bounce back in the second race, contact with the wall in qualifying meant he would again start at the back of the field. He tried to gain ground on the field by pitting on lap two under the first caution, but problems with the electronic control unit ended his race on Lap 61. He crashed out of yesterday's Dual unceremoniously in the waning laps, also netting him few points.

The race was false-started at the beginning when several cars got out of position in the final turn, and even when the actual green flag came out, three laps later the field was back under caution due to Power's incident. On the restart, pole-sitter Takuma Sato established himself early, growing a lead of a couple of seconds over Castroneves, who had jumped James Hinchcliffe at the start.

Scott Dixon was one of several drivers who pitted under that early caution, ditching his sticker red tyres for blacks, which he stayed on for the rest of the race. Pitting on-sequence with the rest of the eventual winners, Dixon's three-stop strategy kept him at the front with minimal battling despite starting dead last, and after a few straightforward overtakes, the Kiwi grabbed fourth when, on the final lap, a missed overtaking opportunity nearly sent P4 Hinchcliffe into the wall. He got out of the throttle, allowing Dixon to get past.

Also on the charge after the first round of pit stops was Englishman Mike Conway. One of the fastest cars on track throughout the first two thirds of the event, Conway's off-sequence strategy looked to be aiming for a two-stop as he carved through the field and into the lead. After a few laps of consistently flat-spotting his front tyres, though, Conway was forced to pit on lap 49 in the middle of his stint, ending his chances at victory. He would finish P11.

Sebastien Saavedra brought out the second caution of the race after hitting the wall and stopping on track, and in the aftermath, only Sato and Hinchcliffe pitted from the front of the field. This handed the lead to Hinchcliffe, especially after Sato took an unusually long time to refuel. As a result, Helio got by Sato in the order and never looked back.

All the while, Power continued to put in laps that were level with the leaders, working his way from last in the field after his penalty. Through pit-stop rotations, the Aussie was soon running in P2 behind Conway, who was nearly ten seconds ahead (but was yet to pit).

When Conway shot into the pit lane on lap 26, Power followed suit a lap later to try to match the leader's strategy. This gave the lead back to Castroneves, who would again regain the lead after he pitted later than the leaders on Lap 34. This shorter stint ended up coinciding with Power's last stop, with both drivers coming in on Lap 49.  Helio led coming out of the pits and would hold onto the lead until the end.

The next caution came out with just 13 laps to go after Sebastian Bourdais understeered into the tyre wall, bunching the field and eliminated Helio's 9.5s lead. A lengthy period behind the pace car meant that the field would go green with just seven to go, but a strong restart meant Castroneves would not be challenged.

However, a couple of laps later, Sato was hit from behind by Marco Andretti, sending the Japanese driver into the wall and the American driver into the pits for a drive-through penalty. Another full-course caution was deployed, again forcing Castroneves to defend another restart.

The race would go green with three to go, and again the Brazilian made it look easy. A thankfully calm last few laps allowed Castroneves to cross the line without incident, giving Chevrolet engines a podium sweep (and a fourth place from Scott Dixon). He and his crew would climb the fence on the frontstretch, 13 years after he created his signature style of celebration that earned him the nickname "The Spider-Man."

The Verizon IndyCar Series will return to action in one week at the 1.5mi Texas Motor Speedway for a 600km oval race in the Firestone 600.

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Sunday 21 September 2014

  2. 12:35

    Follow the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix live!

    F1
  3. Video: Hill, Herbert become mechanics 10:44

    Video: Hill, Herbert become mechanics

    Watch as Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert become Marussia mechanics for a practice session in Singapore.

    F1
  4. 10:42

    Photos: Historic F1 race in Singapore

    F1
  5. Hamilton: Rosberg relations 'back to normal' 10:41

    Hamilton: Rosberg relations 'back to normal'

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says that his relationship with team-mate Nico Rosberg is 'back to normal' following the...

    F1
  6. Grosjean hits out at Renault problems 07:02

    Grosjean hits out at Renault problems

    Romain Grosjean has hit out at continual Renault problems, which he says are having a negative impact on the morale of his...

    F1
  7. 06:32

    Photos: Special helmets for Singapore

    F1
  8. Video of the Day: Formula 1's Safety Car 05:03

    Video of the Day: Formula 1's Safety Car

    There has never been a Singapore Grand Prix without the appearance of Formula 1's Safety Car. Ahead of the night race,...

    F1
  9. Pérez sure of Force India race recovery 01:04

    Pérez sure of Force India race recovery

    Force India driver Sergio Pérez says he is sure that he can recover from a lowly grid spot and notch up a top 10 finish in...

    F1
  10. 00:35

    Starting grid for the Singapore Grand Prix

    F1
  11. Saturday 20 September 2014

  12. Massa encouraged by Williams improvements 18:32

    Massa encouraged by Williams improvements

    Felipe Massa says he is encouraged by the progress which Williams has made since Friday's practice sessions after qualifying...

    F1
  13. 17:25

    Latest F1 photos: Saturday in Singapore

    F1
  14. Magnussen seeks help from Safety Car 17:24

    Magnussen seeks help from Safety Car

    Kevin Magnussen says he is hoping to see the Safety Car called into action during Sunday evening's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  15. Alonso hopeful of fighting for victory 17:09

    Alonso hopeful of fighting for victory

    Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is hopeful that he will be able to challenge for victory during Sunday's Singapore Grand...

    F1
  16. Vettel reckons pole position was possible 16:42

    Vettel reckons pole position was possible

    Sebastian Vettel feels he could have had a shot at claiming pole position in Singapore with a cleaner final qualifying...

    F1
  17. Rosberg ruing late change of brakes 16:16

    Rosberg ruing late change of brakes

    Nico Rosberg was left to rue a change of brakes after Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton beat him to pole position in...

    F1
  18. Hamilton pleased to recover from early error 15:57

    Hamilton pleased to recover from early error

    Lewis Hamilton says he was pleased with his recovery after an early error threatened to ruin his final qualifying attempt in...

    F1
  19. 15:08

    Singapore GP: Qualifying results in full

    F1
  20. Hamilton pips Rosberg to Singapore pole 15:07

    Hamilton pips Rosberg to Singapore pole

    Lewis Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to pole position during a tight qualifying session in Singapore, with...

    F1
  21. 13:52

    Follow qualifying for the Singapore GP!

    F1
  22. 12:16

    Singapore GP: Full Free Practice 3 results

    F1
  23. Alonso back on top in final Singapore practice 12:03

    Alonso back on top in final Singapore practice

    Fernando Alonso returned to the head of the field during final practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, putting his Ferrari...

    F1
  24. 10:55

    Follow final practice for the Singapore GP!

    F1
  25. Full radio ban delayed to ensure 'fairness' 10:31

    Full radio ban delayed to ensure 'fairness'

    The FIA backtracked on its plans to introduce a full radio clampdown in Singapore to ensure "fairness". After announcing...

    F1
  26. Video: Maldonado crashes out of practice 09:56

    Video: Maldonado crashes out of practice

    Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado suffered this heavy crash during Friday evening's second practice session in Singapore. The...

    F1
  27. Maldonado gets new chassis after crash 09:49

    Maldonado gets new chassis after crash

    Pastor Maldonado has been forced to switch to a new chassis for the remainder of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, after...

    F1
  28. 07:06

    Photos: Historic F1 action in Singapore

    F1
  29. Ravetto: Caterham already working on 2015 06:01

    Ravetto: Caterham already working on 2015

    Newly-appointed Caterham Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto insists that there are long-term plans in place at the outfit,...

    F1
  30. Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 8 05:00

    Video of the Day: Wind tunnel guide - Part 8

    Sauber's Head of Aerodynamics, Willem Toet, concludes his talk on the science of F1 wind tunnel design.

    F1
  31. Friday 19 September 2014

  32. Ferrari reasonably competitive, says Alonso 19:49

    Ferrari reasonably competitive, says Alonso

    Fernando Alonso reckons that Ferrari put in a "reasonably competitive" performance during Friday's free practice sessions...

    F1
  33. Button sure of 'decent opportunity' for McLaren 18:39

    Button sure of 'decent opportunity' for McLaren

    Jenson Button believes that this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix presents a "decent opportunity" for McLaren as the team bids...

    F1
  34. Pirelli admits tyre gap bigger than expected 18:17

    Pirelli admits tyre gap bigger than expected

    F1 tyre supplier Pirelli admits that the time difference between its supplied compounds in Singapore has been larger than it...

    F1
  35. Vettel praises mechanics for 'massive job' 18:02

    Vettel praises mechanics for 'massive job'

    Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel has praised his mechanics for the work they completed between practice sessions in...

    F1
  36. Rosberg positive despite ruined attempt 17:37

    Rosberg positive despite ruined attempt

    Nico Rosberg was in a positive frame of mind after the opening day of practice for the Singapore Grand Prix, despite failing...

    F1
  37. Hamilton still not happy with car balance 17:15

    Hamilton still not happy with car balance

    Lewis Hamilton says he is still not comfortable with the handling of his car, despite topping Friday's combined timesheets...

    F1
  38. 16:48

    Latest F1 photos: Friday in Singapore

    F1
  39. Verstappen could get Suzuka practice outing 16:44

    Verstappen could get Suzuka practice outing

    Max Verstappen could take part in his first official Formula 1 session at the Japanese Grand Prix. The 16-year-old Dutch...

    F1
  40. 16:13

    Singapore GP: Full Free Practice 2 results

    F1
  41. Hamilton moves ahead in second practice 16:03

    Hamilton moves ahead in second practice

    Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton moved to the top of the times during Friday's second practice session for the Singapore Grand...

    F1
  42. 14:16

    Follow second practice for the Singapore GP!

    F1
  43. Ferrari paying tribute to Botín in Singapore 13:46

    Ferrari paying tribute to Botín in Singapore

    Ferrari is paying tribute to Emilio Botín in Singapore, following the death of the Santander Chairman. Botín, who passed a...

    F1
more news