As Alex Palou took one step closer to the IndyCar title with second place, Colton Herta secured Laguna Seca his second victory of the season at the Monterey Grand Prix. After a good comeback at the end of the race, Romain Grosjean took third place.
The title race will go to the final in Long Beach next weekend. While Alex Palou could put an end to the suspense at the Grand Prix de Monterey, the Spaniard seized the opportunity to widen the gap on his main rival Pato O’Ward but had to settle for second place at Laguna Seca . Starting from pole position, Colton Herta defended tooth and nail his place against his teammate at Andretti Alexander Rossi. The former Manor Formula 1 driver spun off on the second lap. From there, the one who shone at the start of the season in the streets of St. Petersburg was hardly worried until the last of the 95 laps on the program for this penultimate round of the season. In the peloton, the strategies were put in place but did not prevent the action on the track like Romain Grosjean, very aggressive to overtake Oliver Askey or Pato O’Ward in the first laps of the race. The only worry Colton Herta had to face was the loss of time in traffic on a circuit where overtaking is not necessarily obvious. A situation which allowed the leader of the championship Alex Palou to come closer while his main rival for the title, Pato O’Ward, was in third place.
This is Herta’s house.
— NTT INDYCAR SERIES (@IndyCar) September 19, 2021
Herta managed perfectly, Grosjean aggressive to snatch the podium
The Spaniard then took the party to ensure the maximum possible points and, therefore, the second position behind Colton Herta. But behind, after making his last stop 21 laps from the finish, Romain Grosjean took advantage of his soft tires to embark on a fantastic comeback in the heart of the peloton. Oliver Askew, Simon Pagenaud, Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward then Graham Rahal could not resist the French driver, who settled in third place with the hope of catching up on Alex Palou then Colton Herta. But the traffic got the better of the ambitions of the Genevan, who caught up with Jimmie Johnson in the famous “corkscrew” of the Californian route. The driver announced at Andretti Autosport next year to replace Ryan Hunter-Reay was content with third place on the podium, his third of the season. Simon Pagenaud, meanwhile, took seventh place when Sébastien Bourdais had to be content with 14th place, one lap behind the winner. In the title race, Alex Palou is now 35 points ahead of Alex Palou while, mathematically, Josef Newgarden is the last in contention, 48 points behind the Spaniard. A title of champion which will therefore be played on the spectacular urban circuit traced in the streets of Long Beach next weekend.
INDYCAR / GRAND PRIX DE MONTEREY
Final classification (95 laps – 342,190km) – Sunday September 19, 2021
1- Colton Herta (Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Honda) en 2h02’31’’5444
2- Alex Palou (ESP / Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) at 1”9747
3- Romain Grosjean (FRA / Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda) at 3”7087
4- Graham Rahal (USA/RAhal Letterman Lanigan Honda) 13”8616
5- Pato O’Ward (MEX/Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) à 24’’6972
8- Simon Pagenaud (FRA / Team Penske Chevrolet) at 30”4215
14- Sébastien Bourdais (FRA / AJFoyt Enterprises Chevrolet) 1 lap
General classification after 15 races (out of 16)
1- Alex Palou (ESP/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 517 points
2- Pato O’Ward (MEX/Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) 482
3- Josef Newgarden (USA/Team Penske Chevrolet) 469
4- Scott Dixon (NZL / Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 446
5- Marcus Ericsson (SUE/Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) 430
8- Simon Pagenaud (FRA/Team Penske Chevrolet) 353
15– Romain Grosjean (FRA/Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda) 266
17- Sébastien Bourdais (FRA / AJFoyt Enterprises Chevrolet) 234