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Grosjean aims to “play the long game” on Indy 500 debut logo 28/5/2022 David Malsher-Lopez

For the 36-year-old IndyCar sophomore, who scored 10 podium finishes in F1 before switching to IndyCar, this weekend’s 106th running of the Indy 500 will be only the third oval IndyCar race. He made his oval debut at Gateway’s 1.25-mile World Wide Technology Raceway last year, and ran Texas Motor Speedway in March.

Yet despite several flirtations with the walls around the Speedway through practice, Grosjean has qualified ninth, on the outside of the third row of this 3 x 3 grid, the only Andretti Autosport-Honda driver to make it into the Top 20.

Asked by if he had a particular strategy for the start of the race, he replied: “No. I need to go and watch videos from previous starts. It’s great to be on the outside if you can stay flat and get six positions! But if you stuff it in Turn 1, you’ve done quarter of a mile and you’ve missed 199.75. So best to avoid that!

“So just patience, play the long game, and make sure I do things the way I’m supposed to do things.

“And also get some help from my guys – I’m a rookie out there so they’re probably going to give me information for the race. If it’s too much I’m going to tell them it’s too much and if it’s not enough, they can keep me on top of everything I can be on top of.”

Compared with when he passed his Rookie Orientation Program for the Speedway last October, the Geneva, Switzerland-born driver said he felt “more at home on the ovals than I did back then… but there’s still a long way to go on the ovals… There is a lot to know and understand.”

But he also added that there had been no big surprises “because I came with no expectations. I didn’t know what I was going into.

“The biggest part is how much the track changes from a few degrees [change in temperature] of weather, or wind or sunshine. I think that caught out a lot of people. It’s interesting to go out there and try and get as much information as you can.”

Asked if he felt pressure as the highest Andretti Autosport driver on the grid, Grosjean responded: “It’s 200 laps , things can go your way or not your way very quickly.

“Yes, I’m very proud to be the best Andretti, very proud to be in front of all my teammates. That’s obviously something special. I’m very proud of my race engineer Olivier [Boisson], who decided on Saturday [first Day of qualifying] to go a different route from the others, just because he felt that was the best option we had for quali and it worked really well.

“I’m glad he followed me to Andretti [from Dale Coyne Racing] and I’m glad I had to meet him in my career. My relationship with him is great and we trust each other. It’s good.”

Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport-Honda talks with his race engineer Olivier Boisson. © Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport-Honda talks with his race engineer Olivier Boisson.

Romain Grosjean, Andretti Autosport-Honda talks with his race engineer Olivier Boisson.

Photo by: Geoffrey M. Miller / Motorsport Images

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