The 2021 Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves has shared his thoughts about his historic fourth victory at the Brickyard.
May 30th, 2021 is the day that the Brazilian Castroneves will remember for a very long time – on this day he has become the four-time Indy 500 champion, being only fourth driver to reach this milestone. The race-winning overtake took place with just two laps to go and then the leaders got to the pack of the lapped cars. After the triumph, he emphasized their impact in those laps and how they triggered his late move on Alex Palou.
“I knew the potential of my car. I knew exactly what I had to do. When I saw traffic coming before me, in front of Palou, I said, ‘I got to get that right because that’s what is going to help me,” Castroneves said.
“When I saw the traffic – it was a bunch of it actually – I’m like, ‘That’s it, I’m not going to wait because I need that traffic to pull me so I can get the same speed.’ When I made the move, I said, ‘That’s it.’”
The race winner also acknowledged the efforts made by Palou and his team as they were quick for the entire event.
“He was very good. He was very fast. The Ganassi guys did a great job,” he commented.
“They were very, very strong on their own. They really were able to do some amazing laps. I think it was almost 221 [miles per hour]. I tried myself, and I couldn’t do it. I decided just to wait for the right opportunity.”
Castroneves was glad about how his car worked since the qualifying session, so he had to use that opportunity.
“I felt that my car was very good since after qualifying, after that practice. The car was so good, so I just had to make sure that I stay there in the end. Once the pit cycles came in, I was in second place with Palou. Pato [O’Ward] came to play a little bit. I was like ‘just keep doing what I’m doing, understanding what I need to do.'”
“I was having a little bit of vibration towards the end, but it didn’t bother me. I just kept on it, make the right tools to change the car a little bit. When I crossed the finish line, I was like, ‘Can you believe it? I don’t believe it.”
The 2021 champion was determined to finally win the race after a couple of second-place finishes: “I lost too many races in second place here. I was like, ‘this is not going to be the day.’”