Pato O’Ward won round four of the 2022 IndyCar Series – and then dedicated his victory to Ayrton Senna on the anniversary of the Brazilian’s passing.
Driving for the Arrow McLaren SP team, O’Ward triumphed at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama to record his third IndyCar success following two last year.
It came 28 years to the day since Senna, who had won his three Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championships for McLaren, had died when crashing while leading the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.
“I dedicate this win today to the memory of Ayrton Senna on the anniversary of his loss 28 years ago,” said O’Ward in a tweet that depicted Senna with a ‘Remembering Ayrton’ caption.
“I know he means a lot to everyone at McLaren and to McLaren fans all over the world.”
I dedicate this win today to the memory of Ayrton Senna on the anniversary of his loss 28 years ago. I know he means a lot to everyone at McLaren and to McLaren fans all over the world.🧡 pic.twitter.com/NQ7wuTWPvu
— Pato O'Ward (@PatricioOWard) May 2, 2022
For the 22-year-old Mexican driver, the win completed a return to form after he had finished only 12th and 15th in the first two races of the season at a time when he admitted he had been distracted by contract talks.
Considered a potential F1 driver of the future, having taken part in last year’s end-of-season test in Abu Dhabi, O’Ward’s position at McLaren had been clouded when the team announced they had taken on his IndyCar rival Colton Herta for a development programme.
“It sucks to be at war within your own team, right?” said O’Ward, quoted by the Associated Press. “I’m glad there have been very positive talks for the future.
“I wanted to do it for these guys – for Arrow, for McLaren SP, Team Chevy. I was tired of being 10th and 11th and fifth, so I said ‘let’s get a win under our belts so we can claw our way back into the championship fight’.”
O’Ward won by less than a second from reigning champion Alex Palou of Spain, who went to the top of the standings even though he has not won any of this year’s first four races.
Two-time former IndyCar series champion Josef Newgarden, who had won this season’s previous two rounds, is down to third after finishing only 14th, while O’Ward is up to fifth.
Highest-placed former F1 driver was Romain Grosjean, who followed up his second-place finish at Long Beach last time out with P7 at Barber and is eighth in the standings, just ahead of Marcus Ericsson.
The former Haas driver has finished in the top seven three times out of four this year.
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