Scott Dixon tipped his hat to team-mate Felix Rosenqvist after their scrappy battle for the win in the closing laps at Mid-Ohio on Sunday – although he conceded that he’ll be unlikely to get away with a similar move in future.
Rosenqvist closed rapidly on Dixon over the final phase of the race when the New Zealander found himself struggling on overworked tires, setting up a furious battle for the victory over the final two laps. The fight culminated in the pair briefly making contact, and was settled in Dixon’s favor when he crossed the line less than 0.1s ahead of the Swede.
“Pretty sure that next time he’s not going to let that slide,” said Dixon. “I think there’s a big understanding in any team that the last thing you want to do is take each other out. And Felix is a rookie here in IndyCar, but has raced in many different series and has much broader knowledge of racing than I even do, because he’s touched so many different kind of formulas.”
Rosenqvist had suggested that the moment that led to the contact in Turn 2 had sprung from a misunderstanding on his part over whether Dixon was leaving him room. Dixon said there was no such ambiguity from his side.
“I’m not going to leave the door wide open by all means,” he said. “That corner is quite tricky because the approach can be done so many different ways and also how you go to apex or where you use the apex and then the curve actually adds about another two, three foot if you want to use that, as well, and then even a bit of grass.
“I knew he was going to come in deep there. I thought he was actually going to just wait to get a good exit off of 2, and ultimately I think had he just been a little bit more patient there, I think he would have got me probably going into 4, but because that kind of messed up his momentum and kind of got him into dirty stuff a little bit, it took him a little time to react after that one. It worked out perfectly for us.
“Huge respect for Felix. He drove clean, and ultimately, it was going to be hard for any car to come past, even though we were about three seconds slower a lap than anyone else.”
Dixon was less enthused by what he believed was overenthusiastic defending by Will Power earlier in the race when the pair – on the same fuel strategies, but different tires – were fighting for track position. Dixon ultimately found a way past and immediately leaned on the gripper red tires to open what would prove to be a decisive gap, but said that Power’s eagerness to convert his pole position into a first win for the season might have clouded his judgment.
“Honestly, from where I sat, he didn’t really give me any room, which I was kind of disappointed [about], especially on the approach,” Dixon said. “When you’re coming in there at 185 miles an hour and he was giving me kind of a half a car width into (Turn) 4, I expected a little bit more from him on that. And then obviously when I got around him in 5 and then he just drove me off, obviously it’s good for a spectator, but for me it was not so good. I knew we were going to get him, it’s just… it added like another five- or six-second delay to what I had.
“But Will is going to drive tough. He’s racing for wins right now, and he’s a hell of a competitor, and as we’ve seen, the guy is super fast. But I probably would have expected a little bit more from him on those situations.”