Rossi: “It sucks… we’re always playing bridesmaid as of late”

Andretti Autosport-Honda driver Alexander Rossi says narrowly losing out to a Team Penske-Chevrolet driver for the third time in four races is getting old.

Rossi: “It sucks… we’re always playing bridesmaid as of late”

In the Indianapolis 500, the first Detroit race and at Texas Motor Speedway, the former F1 driver has been left staring at a Penske rear wing on the final lap, missing out by a combined total of 1.8487sec, or an average of 0.6162sec.

Worst of all from Rossi’s perspective is that the last two near-misses have been in the wake of Penske’s Josef Newgarden, the driver standing between Rossi and the points lead. After nine of the 17 rounds in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series, Rossi’s deficit is 25 points to the 2017 champion.

Speaking of his Texas defeat, Rossi, said: “I think we had a good car, could obviously get a good run on him off of [Turns] 3 and 4, but lane two [the outside line] was really never there for me. We could get halfway around the outside but we’d have to bail out.

“I could have maybe took a bit more of a risk, but it was pretty low percentage. I didn't think a lot of guys were making it happen. Ultimately then it became about trying to beat him for the line. But we took out a lot of the tire life going in lane two there, so we just didn't have the rear tires there at the end to stay close to him.”

Newgarden’s four-stop strategy enabled him to nail super-fast laps in clear air while the three-stoppers pitted for the final time and therefore resume in the lead. It also meant that Newgarden’s tires were 11 laps newer, but Rossi wasn’t convinced that would have altered the outcome of their duel over the closing laps.

“I think where that difference came was kind of the last four laps,” he replied. “I kind of fell off of him. So, yeah, I think that was really ultimately the biggest issue for me, was I couldn't keep the challenge on him. But I don't know that the end result would have been any different. I would have kept trying to go high in [Turns] 1 and 2. I mean, I tried it like six times and it never worked, so I doubt it would have worked if I tried another three or four times.

“The fact of the separation, we weren't able to kind of challenge him to the [start/finish line] was a difference in tire life but probably didn't affect the end result.”

Seeing Newgarden appear up front for the final stint, having been running in the lower reaches of the Top 10 for most of the day, was a surprise, Rossi admitted, especially as he was confident that had he reached the front, he could have similarly held off the Penske driver.

“It sucks. I mean, I didn't see him up front all day. All of a sudden he appears in P1, so... Obviously they're doing a good job. He had a fast car once he got in front. Ultimately I think Scott [Dixon], myself and Colton [Herta] in terms of fuel mileage and where we were going were looking pretty good there until the end…

“It's all track position here unfortunately. It's a superspeedway but the current package we have – I mean, we saw it at Indy, we see it here – [means] it's really hard to stay in touch, being the car behind, to be able to carry the throttle that you need to. The dirty air has a really big impact on the car. It's really hard to get a good run on a car.

“It's not hard to pass cars that are struggling, cars that are off sequence with different tire life, whatever. [But] when you have a Penske Chevrolet driven by someone as good as Josef, there's only so much you can do, right?

“Yeah, it sucks. I mean, we're always there, but we're always playing the bridesmaid as of late."

shares
comments
Newgarden credits team, car with Texas win

Previous article

Newgarden credits team, car with Texas win

Next article

Ferrucci leads IndyCar rookies thanks to oval flair

Ferrucci leads IndyCar rookies thanks to oval flair
Load comments
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
IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet Prime

IndyCar young guns are great, but the elders aren’t done yet

The ace 20-somethings in IndyCar have risen to become title contenders, but the best of the series veterans are digging deep and responding – and will continue to do so over the next couple of years, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021