Sato holds off Helio to give Andretti another Indy 500 win

Erica Murray
May 30, 2017

Ed Jones, the Dubai-born rookie, finished an impressive third in Sunday's Indianapolis 500 race but said he believes he could have won had his auto not suffered damage.

Takuma Sato won the 101st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, holding off three-time victor Helio Castroneves and denying him a shot at history.

The win marked the ex-Formula One driver's second victory in IndyCar racing- five years after he crashed on the final lap of the race trying to defeat Scotland's Dario Franchitti.

Sato was mobbed by his euphoric Andretti Autosport crew and team mates as he pulled into Victory Lane, kissed by the Indy 500 Queen and then chugged from the traditional bottle of milk before dumping it over his head. I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 auto.

"I do feel after 2012 that I really needed to correct something I left over", Sato said.

Still, his race was spectacular and Alonso simply fell victim to his engine late in the race. After starting on the second row, in fifth, and dropping to ninth in a fuel mapping miscommunication, Alonso charged past 2016 race victor Alexander Rossi for the lead. "We've been sharing the last two weeks all the meetings in the morning, the meetings in the afternoon", he said of his Andretti routine. "I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 vehicle".

Sato, the first driver from Japan to win the Indy 500, held this nation's flag proudly overhead as global media captured the historic feat.

The rest of the top-10 finishers were 2013 victor Tony Kanaan in fifth, followed by two-time victor Juan Pablo Montoya, Rossi, Marco Andretti (Michael's son), Gabby Chaves and Carlos Munoz.

But with a six-car team at Indy, Michael Andretti has yet to get his son to the finish line first.

"Helio is just a gentleman, and I knew I was racing against a real champion", he said. Shortly after, the Brazilian overtook Chilton for the lead but before long, Sato passed Chilton and soon made the winning move on Castroneves.

How else to explain the last two Indy 500 winners - Sato and Alexander Rossi - only have a combined three career victories, with two of them in the biggest race in the world. A red flag stopped action for 19 minutes to fix the barrier and catch fencing in the short chute between Turns 1 and 2.

"If I come back here, at least I know how it is everything". Castroneves, the three-time Indy 500 victor, praised Jones for the job the newcomer did. "What a race. I hope the fans enjoyed it".

Jones was battling with eventual victor Takuma Sato and runner-up Helio Castroneves in the closing stages of the race, but found his vehicle had too much drag.

On a day when Scott Dixon destroyed his ride in a frightening crash and pieces of race cars flew like shrapnel, he was as quick a study as his pedigree suggested he'd be, leading 27 laps and running in the top five for vast chunks of the day.

Honda drivers took six of the top 10 finishing positions.

"If we put aside the last 20 laps; if we reflect back on the past month, it was outstanding", said Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing.

While Jones may have been disappointed that he didn't quite have enough on Sunday to pass eventual champion Takuma Sato at the front of the field, when he takes stock of his performance in Indianapolis - he should be a very proud man indeed.

Dixon said he was a "little banged up", adding he believes in the safety measures implemented over the past few years by the track and series. "I'm extremely happy for the final result".

Other reports by Insurance News

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