Cinema » “Hinch Reveling in Sao Paulo’s Victory”
James Hinchcliffe Q&A
Hinch Reveling in Sao Paulo’s Last Corner, Last Lap Pass for Victory
Toronto, Ontario (May 09, 2013) – James Hinchcliffe piloted Andretti Autosport’s No.27 GoDaddy Chevrolet IndyCar entry to win number two of the season last Sunday, 5th May, as the Canadian thrilled the Brazilian crowd with an epic last corner, last lap pass on Japan’s Takuma Sato on the streets of Sao Paulo.
For ‘Hinch’, who followed up March’s opening round win in St. Petersburg with two straight DNF’s, Round 4’s trip to Victory Lane was a welcome return to form and propelled him back to fourth in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Driver Standings heading to the illustrious ‘Indy 500’ on Sunday 26th May.
While the 26-year-old’s attentions are set to be consumed by all things at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he took time out upon landing back from Brazil to review perhaps the most entertaining race of the season.
Q: Heading into Sao Paulo what was your mindset after two straight DNF’s in the wake of your opening round victory at St Pete?
James Hinchcliffe (JH): “I was thinking how much I didn’t want people to compare me to Ricky Bobby, because so far if we hadn’t been first, we’d been last! We just knew that you can’t afford too many DNF’s in a series this competitive and a finish was key. A strong finish would be ideal, but we needed to see the checkered.”
Q: Was there a point in the race that you thought, we could have a real shot at this!
JH: “It honestly wasn’t until about three laps to go. And even then it really wasn’t until we were already across the line! It had been a very up and down race for us and so while you never give up, sometimes you’re just in salvage mode! Luckily we kept our head down, but realistically we were fourth with ten laps to go. It’s not that often on a street circuit the guy in fourth with ten to go wins it! So it really wasn’t until the race was done.”
Q: What was more relevant to the win, the management of your ‘push-to-pass’ options or Takuma and Joseph fighting each other in 1-2 in the closing laps?
JH: “Definitely Taku and Josef battling! After I got around Simon, there’s no way we’d have been able to catch up if Sato hadn’t been making it so hard on Josef. It was a big gap to close in only a few laps. In a way I should almost thank Sato for defending as vigorously as he was.”
Q: You hounded Takuma over the final two laps and he defended, some might say too aggressively – were you bothered and did you know you’d get him where you did or was it last corner, last chance?
JH: “It was kind of last corner, last chance. Obviously his defending on the back-straight was pretty ambitious, but I knew the race wasn’t over. The lap before I tried holding him on the outside of the hairpin, and that didn’t work, so on the last lap I knew I had to do something different. Luckily he took the bait and opened up the inside on the exit.”
Q: In terms of your overall career wins – this has got to rank fairly high?
JH: “No doubt. I mean if you look at how our race went, it was a hard drive because we were down in the dumps at some points. And then like I said, to make those moves on track after the last restart, to come back from losing two spots to making a last corner pass for the win, if definitely made a good story! We put on a good show for the fans, that’s the biggest thing, but for sure it was one of my favourites.”
Q: Andretti Autosport have taken three of the first four races – is the dynamic different because of that early success and is the team happy to trade wins, podiums etc between its drivers?
JH: “I think what we are seeing is just a continuation of last year. We heard so much of it last season, the chemistry in the team, and now we’ve just had an off-season to keep gelling and growing closer. We are genuinely happy for each other when one has success. It’s a great atmosphere. But we have to keep pushing and working harder than ever because it can end in a flash.”
Q: Last year you headed into the Indy 500 sitting third overall in the points, this year you sit fourth but with two victories to your credit? Does pre-Indy form really hold much weight when it comes to the 500 and what are you expectations now for the rest of the month?
JH: “Sadly the first four races mean nothing once we get to the speedway. It’s definitely great for the team and for morale to have the start we have had, but Indy is its own beast and nothing we’ve done in 2013 matters right now. Nothing even from last season at Indy counts. Everyone starts at zero on opening day and it’s up to us to make the most of everything.”
ENDS – www.hinchtown.com / @Hinchtown
Photo Credit: LAT / Andretti Autosport
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