Hunter-Reay, Sato praise Andretti Autosport recovery

Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato have praised their team and crews for bouncing back from brake issues and shunts to finish fourth and fifth in the IndyCar season-opener at St. Petersburg.

Hunter-Reay, Sato praise Andretti Autosport recovery
Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda pit stop
Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda sign
Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda
Alexander Rossi, Herta - Andretti Autosport Honda
Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport Honda

After suffering a crash on Sunday morning following a brake issue, Ryan Hunter-Reay finished fourth, just ahead of newest teammate Takuma Sato who had a severe crash on Friday yet qualified in fifth.

Said Hunter-Reay: “It was a wild weekend. From the ups and downs of braking issues in second practice and then warmup, we definitely earned this one.

“We fixed engine calibration issues early on [in the race], got out in front of the pace car by about a second or two keeping us on the lead lap. To finish fourth was just awesome.

“This #28 team has done a great job all day. To fight back like that, I had to keep coming spot after spot, really earning it, then there at the end I got that spot back from my teammate Sato. We had a lot of fun out there driving every last drop out of the car.

“Hopefully we can get the DHL Honda team back on the podium where we belong, but a fourth-place finish is a good start. This whole team has done a great job; Andretti Autosport has been working hard. We had some great pace, showed good promise.”

Sato, who led two laps and appeared to be on a victory-contending strategy, suffered a long pitstop when the right-front wheelgun failed. But he remained positive given the background to his race had involved a hard hit on the Turn 13 barrier.

“I’ve probably had one of the hardest Fridays, so it was a difficult and challenging weekend. Given the circumstances, I think we did the best we could in qualifying and I was extremely happy with the result. But I think a fourth and fifth place finish for Andretti Autosport is a fantastic result.”

Marco Andretti, who looked strong in practice had already been disappointed with his pace on red tires in qualifying and admitted, “We overreacted because we were really loose on (Firestone primary) blacks. So, we overreacted with the car set up and it wouldn't turn on the (alternate) reds. We would have been better off not having made the changes and just running.

“[So] we started P15; we hung on to salvage seventh, and that’s what we needed to do on days like this. After qualifying where we did, you gotta take a top 10. We also got a yellow in our favor today and that’s what it’s going to take – to be just as lucky as good. Hopefully we can be both all year.” 

A slow puncture accounted for Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi’s failure to finish in the Top 10. He commented: “I think our pace was as good as the guys who finished in top five. We got caught up on the first yellow, then had a punctured tire on the third stint.

“We had to come in early because the tire was going down, and by pitting early we had to save a huge amount of fuel at the end and couldn’t attack. Just two unfortunate circumstances dictated the end result.”

shares
comments
Power rues lost opportunity at St. Petersburg
Previous article

Power rues lost opportunity at St. Petersburg

Next article

Kanaan's two decades in Indy cars

Kanaan's two decades in Indy cars
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021