Alexander Rossi finished second in the Grand Prix of Portland, his best finish of the season, but it did not initially look like he was going to have a good race.
He was one of a group of drivers that completely missed the apex in turn 1 at the start of the race, having to queue through a set of styrofoam bollards in order to rejoin the track.
In all, nearly half a dozen drivers had to go off track, meaning that Pato O’Ward was able to take the lead after having started in seventh position.
Speaking after the race, Rossi was able to laugh off the incident, but was still confused as to why he was made to restart at the rear of the field.
“I’m glad it all came back to us because we all would have looked pretty silly, I guess,” said Rossi.
“I thought it was pretty low grip in Turn 1 when Felix [Rosenqvist], I guess — when Scott [Dixon] and Alex [Palou] and them kind of slid through.
“I didn’t really have anywhere to go, and I thought if we got back to the styrofoam chicane, that was acceptable. It was self-penalizing because we all went from like first, second, third to sixth, seventh, eighth.
“And then they [race control] are like, ‘Oh, you’re going to 24th.’ But fortunately it all came around, and it put us on the two-stop, which is ultimately the strategy to be on.
“The pace of the car was good all weekend. I think we gave it everything we could there on that last stint, and the red tires had a window of time where they were a little bit better. “And then it was just tough with dirty air, and Alex [Palou] didn’t make a mistake.
“It’s always going to be hard to just go and drive around the pole sitter, but ultimately it was a good day for the team, good in pit lane, great calls, so yeah, started second, finished second.”
Felix Rosenqvist, Scott Dixon, and Alex Palou were also among the drivers that had trouble navigating the corner, with all involved being forced to restart near the back of the field.
Race control did not hand out any penalties, but rather deemed the restart order as correct based on how they came through the corner.
Palou went on the win the Grand Prix, with Rossi coming second and Dixon finishing third after all three used a favorable pit strategy that was possible on account of the accident.