SAO PAULO – The Brazilians didn't have a good finish at the Sao Paulo Indy 300 this year. The 2.536 miles street circuit, had, this time, no veteran IndyCar drivers or any of local favorites stood on the podium.
Canadian James Hinchcliffe won the race by overpassing Japan's Takuma Sato in the final lap. Sato did end up second and Hinchcliffe’s teammate, Marco Andretti, took the third position at the finish line.
Several of the IndyCar Series drivers led the race at different times adding to the excitement for those in attendance.
Sato led the hard-breaking street circuit for 22 laps, while IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was in the front during 16 laps in what has been called one of the best races in years.
Who tought Sunday could be the day...
Brazil’s Tony Kanaan, a home-crowd favorite, was among the 10 race leaders who thought Sunday could be the day that he would be the winner on the demanding street circuit in Sao Paulo.
Wearing a brace on his right hand, led for 12 laps, but ended the race in 21st after recovering from a fuel miscalculation which cost him a possible podium. He was able to finish the race, and scored 10 points.
Starting 18th, Helio Castroneves was spun out by Scott Dixon in Turn 2 on a lap 27 restart. On lap 40, Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais hit him and caused a multi-car crash that also involved Simon Pagenaud, J.R. Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball. Castroneves finished 13th.
The 11-turn temporary street circuit had a total of 7 yellow flags, but for KV Racing’s Kanaan this is a “regular thing to happen on any IndyCar race”.
Will Power, who won the previous three races in Brazil (2010, 2011 and 2012) but started only 22nd after a mishap in qualifying, retired on lap 19 because of an apparent gear shift problem.
Brazil’s Bia Figueiredo (Ana Beatriz) retired at lap 7 as a result of a terminal mechanical failure.
The unpredictable race will never be forgotten by Hinchcliffe, who said “there’s no cooler way to win a race than on the last corner of the last lap”.
The pilot said he touched the push-to-pass button, which gives the driver an additional 200 engine revolutions per minute, in the final yards to reach the win.
"I was not sure about the win until I crossed the finish line”, he said.
With his victory in here in the largest Brazilian city, the Andretti Motorsport race driver becomes the third Canadian to win a race in Brazil, just behind Paul Tracy (1997) and Greg Moore (1998).
This is the second victory of the number 27 pilot this season, who won the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Marco Andretti said the Sao Paulo race was the hardest circuit he has ever race on. The youngest Andretti, a 26-year-old son of Michael Andretti and grandson of Mario Andretti, is now second in the season’s standings.