Completing a virtually perfect weekend by delivering a sublime display of aggression and control, Will Power shrugged off the frustrations of the previous round in New Hampshire by delivering an utterly dominant performance in the IZOD Indycar Series event at Infineon Raceway at Sonoma, California. Our IndyCar correspondent Matt Lennon takes a look at the Grand Prix of Sonoma.
In a case of “Where has this been all season?”, Power’s team-mates Hélio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe couldn’t do a thing wrong themselves and locked out a Team Penske podium that would have even made The Captain (Roger Penske) stand back and applaud.
The top-five positions ended in the same order that they started in a largely uneventful race that threatened to run green from flag-to-flag, save for Ho-Pin Tung’s adventures into the crash barriers justifying the need for a safety car only once all afternoon.
Although the race didn’t deliver a great deal in the way of overtaking, that didn’t stop Giorgio Pantano doing his best for Dreyer & Reinbold, driving an excellent race and finding several overtaking opportunities to deliver a sixth place on the road for his return to the series. Unfortunately for him, stewards didn’t take too kindly to what was perceived as an illegal block on fellow former F1 driver Sébastien Bourdais, penalising Pantano, which dropped him down the finishing order to 17th.
Over at HVM Racing, Simon Pagenaud found himself occupying Simona De Silvestro’s seat for the entire weekend, with the Swiss Miss stuck in Switzerland and battling with US Immigration officials to allow her re-entry to the country. Pagenaud tried his best in an underperforming car, bringing the car home in 15th place. It was a poor day for three out of four Andretti Autosports drivers, with Ryan Hunter-Reay rounding out the top ten, but team-mates Mike Conway, Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti were never in the running and finishing well down the order in 16th, 21st and 24th places respectively.
From a Penske procession at Infineon, the series heads back to the east to a new street circuit in Baltimore for the penultimate road course of the season.
2011 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma Final Classification (75 laps):
* Denotes post-race penalty applied for an illegal blocking manoeuvre during the race
[Images via IZOD IndyCar Series]