CGR’s Marcus Ericsson won the red-flag-filled IndyCar Detroit GP from ECR’s Rinus Veekay and AMSP’s O’Ward, to become the 7th winner of 2021.
At the race’s start, first-time pole-sitter O’Ward took a commanding lead which he would hold until the fourth lap, when he pitted onto the primary tyres in an effort to quickly dispose of the softer alternate rubber.
O’Ward was the fifth to change off of the red-striped alternates, one of many to quickly get rid of the unfavorable compound. With his stop, the Mexican sacrificed his lead to Andretti’s Alexander Rossi. Rossi followed O’Ward into the pits two laps later, as much of the field continued to funnel into the pits during the opening laps.
On lap 12, CGR’s Scott Dixon took the lead using the primary tyres, which he had started the race on. He maintained his lead for many of the subsequent laps, during which green flag racing continued – before a deeply jarring accident for AMSP’s Felix Rosenqvist, whose throttle got stuck open on lap 25 leading to a high-speed accident at turn 6.
The incident, which caused immense damage to the barriers on the exit of the turn, consequently brought out a red flag. It would be over an hour until the green flag flew, giving way to 39 laps of racing with Penske’s Will Power, having only pitted once, in the lead.
The restart was frenetic, and even saw DCR’s Romain Grosjean suffer a flat tyre for which the Frenchman pitted. Later, when Power pitted as well, the Kiwi driver sacrificed his lead to O’Ward – albeit only briefly.
After the Mexican pitted for tyres and fuel of his own, a three-way fight for the lead emerged among Power, CGR’s Marcus Ericsson, and ECR’s Rinus Veekay. The three soon assumed the top three positions, with Power leading the way and Ericsson in tow. Though Veekay had been third, RLLR’s Takuma Sato soon usurped him of this position.
Shortly thereafter, Grosjean found the barriers at turn 9. The Frenchman’s stricken IndyCar drew out the red flag to ensure a green flag finish, before which race leader power retired from the race due to an apparent mechanical issue.
With Power out, Ericsson was granted the lead upon the restart, as the Swede led Sato in second. Veekay ultimately passed Sato, and began to apply pressure to the race leader. The Dutchman was unsuccessful, and Ericsson ultimately won.
Behind Veekay sat O’Ward and Sato, with RLLR’s Graham Rahal in fifth. Santino Ferrucci came sixth, leading Rossi and Dixon in eighth. Ed Jones finished ninth for DCR, with Penske’s Josef Newgarden the last of the top ten. In 11th came AJ Foyt’s Sebastien Bourdais, with Penske’s Simon Pagenaud in tow.
Conor Daly finished 13th, from Andretti’s Herta in 14th and CGR’s Alex Palou 15th. Positions 16-21: Jack Harvey (MSR), James Hinchcliffe (Andretti), Dalton Kellett (AJ Foyt), Scott McLaughlin (Penske), Ryan Hunter-reay (Andretti), Max Chilton (Carlin). DNFs: Grosjean, Power, Jimmie Johnson (CGR, mechanical), Rosenvist.
Here’s how the IndyCar Indy500 went this year