Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hinchcliffe Wins Wild One On The Streets Of Sao Paulo - Sao Paulo Indy 300 Review

Hinchcliffe took his second win
James Hincliffe took his second win of the season in dramatic fashion, passing Takuma Sato at the final turn on the final lap.

The race started with reigning champion Ryan Hunter-Reay leading from pole, Dario Franchitti and local hero Tony Kanaan moved up to second and third straight away passing second placed started EJ Viso.

Hunter-Reay was unchallenged early on, building up a lead of over a second. The lead was to be cut short though as Ana Beatriz brought out the first caution of the day, stopping on lap 7. Almost everyone pitted with only the leading group of Hunter-Reay, Franchitti and Kanaan staying out.

The race resumed on lap 9 and a lap later Tony Kanaan forced his way past Francitti, much to the delight of the crowd. The Brazilian then took the lead, passing Hunter-Reay just befor the main straight.

Will Power had another weekend to forget
On lap 19, Will Power's dreadful start to the season hit a new low. Despite charging through the field, the Aussie retired from the race as his Chevrolet powered entry caught fire with what was suspected to be a gearbox related problem.

Four laps later the race restarted once again with Sebastien Bourdais on the point after a round of pit stops. The restart was messy though with Helio Castroneves locking up then James Jakes, Graham Rahal and Ed Carpenter all stopping on track. All got going again but the yellow flags came out once more. Despite the yellow flags coming in on lap 27, the drama wasn't over as Castroneves causes trouble by spinning after making contact with Scott Dixon as both tried to avoid Simon Pagenaud. Sebastien Bourdais was also hit but maintained the lead.

With all calming down, Tony Kanaan lost fifth to Takuma Sato with Charlie Kimball close by. Kimball took the place at the end of lap 30 with the help of Push to Pass. Kanaan was saving fuel at this stage though.

Sato continued his march by passing Ryan Hunter-Reay on lap 34 for what would become the lead. The Japanese driver would pit thre laps later as another caution came out for Rahal who locked up going into turn two, hitting the tyre wall sustaining front right damage. Sato endured a slow pitstop as there were problems with the left rear tyre. Hunter-Reay retook the lead and Sato rejoined way back in the field.

Another dramatic restart on lap 40 resulted in yet another caution. Serbastien Bourdais and Helio Castroneves collided and Simon Pagenaud and JR Hilderbrand were collected. 4 laps later Bourdais, Castroneves and Pagenaud all had to serve drive through penalties after entering a closed pit lane after the collision.

A clean restart happened on lap 45. Marco Andretti passed Oriol Servia for fourth place whilst Ryan Hunter-Reay continued to lead. Tony Kanaan retook the lead at the end of the lap, making his move at the last turn. Marco Andretti meanwhile continued to move forward making a move on Dario Franchitti for third. a lap later he took second from Hunter-Reay before taking the lead from Kanaan at the final turn. Kanaan's race ended five laps later with his car grinding to a halt, bringing out the caution flags once more.

The restart with 21 laps to go lasted a single lap as on lap 55 Brits Justin Wilson and James James both hit walls bringing out the final caution of the day.

The race got under way once more for what would be an exciting final 16 laps with Long Beach winner Takuma Sato and Josef Newgarden in second passing Simon Pagenaud on the restart. Newgarden closed in on Sato, conserving his Push to Pass whilst the leader was left with only one with ten laps to go. Pagenaud soon came under pressure from James Hinchcliffe who closed in on the Frenchman. Hinchcliffe took third on lap 67 with a wide turn on the final turn.

Newgarden finished a career high fifth
Newgarden was on the tail of Sato with Hinchcliffe in hot pursuit of the leading pair. newgarden went to pass Sato on the back straight with five laps to go, Sato retaliating with a daring blocking move. A lap later Hinchcliffe moved up to second and raced nose tail with Sato. The canadian went to make a move for the lead in the same place Newgarded did one lap earlier and Sato once again pulled off a controversial blocking move. Hinchcliffe then came under pressure from Newgarden who couldn't make a move to retake second stick. He then fell into the clutches of Marco Andretti who took third as the raced onto the final lap.

Pagenaud ended a bad weekend on a high
As the leading pack powerd to the checkered flag James Hinchcliffe made a late, daring move on Sato for the lead at the final turn. It paid off and the Canadian took his second win of the season. Andretti held onto third whilst Josef Newgarden dropped back to record a career high fifth place, being passed by Oriol Seriva at the final turn. EJ Viso came home sixth, with Dario Franchittiseventh and Simon de Silvestro eighth. Simon Pagenaud had a particularly impressive afternoon. after starting in a lowly 24th place and enduring no fewer than six pitstops and a drive through penalty, he came home ninth. Charlie Kimball completed the top ten.

The next round of the season is the 97th running of the legendary Indianapolis 500 on May 26th where 2012 winner Dario Franchitti will no doubt be looking to add a fourth Indy 500 crown to his impressive CV.

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