Alexander Rossi was left ruing an unlucky yellow that derailed a potential win in Sunday’s IndyCar race in Portland, and made his climb to the championship a faction steeper going into next week’s season-finale at Sonoma.
“It was a terrible day,” Rossi said. “We had a very fast racecar. It was pretty easy to control everything from the front. I think we had a 7.0s lead at some point. We were following our strategy, making sure we maximized the Firestone reds because they were definitely the preferred tire.
“Then the yellow came out and we got caught. One of the things out of your control. I don’t think anyone today did anything wrong. We did what we were supposed to do, put ourselves in a position to win and it wasn’t meant to be.
“I don’t know that [race–winner Takuma Sato] had a favorable strategy. I think Takuma just pitted and got the yellow that he needed. That’s part of IndyCar racing. Kind of what makes it a lottery at times, allows all these different types of strategies to come forward, fuel strategies. There’s no way that Rahal could have predicted with Takuma what was going to happen. It’s one of those things that came to them.”
While disappointed with how his afternoon played out, Rossi said that he accepts the potential for a caution to turn a race upside down as part of IndyCar racing.
“There’s been a debate that goes back and forth seemingly a couple times a year,” he said. “It’s just the way it is. It’s part of the rules. We all understand the rules. You understand the risks of going long, the potential benefits coming in early. That’s just part of what it is.”
Rossi lost three points to championship leader Dixon in Portland, and goes into Sonoma 29 points in arrears.