Felix Rosenqvist bagged a top ten finish at the Grand Prix of Portland, the penultimate round of the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, but was left ruing a strategic decision made in the early phase of the race.
The Swede finished on the podium at Portland International Raceway in 2019 and also pocketed his best result of the 2021 season at the Oregon track, leaving him in optimistic mood heading into the weekend.
A solid qualifying performance left Rosenqvist sixth on the grid for Sunday’s 110-lap encounter, further triggering hopes of a strong result on race day.
However, a decision to start the race on Firestone red (soft) tyres, combined with a difficult second stint on the harder black compound, derailed Rosenqvist’s charge and eventually left him tenth at the chequered flag.
“A tough race for us, unfortunately,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “We were one of the few to start on reds and couldn’t really exploit it behind Pato (O’Ward) on the blacks. Then we made our biggest mistake of the race by going onto blacks for the second stint. We got swallowed by all the guys that undercut us on reds and also we were lacking quite a bit of pace in general on the blacks, so that was a tough stint overall.”
Rosenqvist, however, could take comfort from a much stronger conclusion to the race, in which he fought back from outside the top 15 to tenth to salvage 20 championship points. The Arrow McLaren SP driver is now looking forward to the final round of the season, which takes place next weekend (September 9-11) at California’s Laguna Seca.
“We had a better end to the race while back on the reds, but generally I think we’re all a little disappointed with how today went,” Rosenqvist admits. “Luckily we’ll be back at it in just a few days and we’ll be aiming for a podium at Laguna to make amends.”
Felix Rosenqvist will enter next week’s season-concluding Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey holding tenth in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES standings.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | Rd. 16
Grand Prix of Portland
Portland International Raceway (USA)
1: Scott McLaughlin (NZL), Penske, 110 laps
2: Will Power (AUS), Penske, +1.179s
3: Scott Dixon (NZL), Ganassi, +1.600s
4: Pato O’Ward (MEX), Arrow McLaren SP, +13.889s
5: Graham Rahal (USA), RLL, +14.820s
10: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Arrow McLaren SP, +18.635s
NTT INDYCAR SERIES | After 16/17 races
1: Will Power (AUS), Penske, 523 p.
2: Josef Newgarden (USA), Penske, 503 p.
3: Scott Dixon (NZL), Ganassi, 503 p.
4: Marcus Ericsson (SWE), Ganassi, 484 p.
5: Scott McLaughlin (NZL), Penske, 482 p.
10: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), Arrow McLaren SP, 360 p.