The McLaren name returned to victory lane on Sunday, however, it wasn’t in Formula One at the Portuguese Grand Prix, at the Portimao circuit, it came some 4,830 miles away as Pato O’Ward in the No.5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet took his maiden NTT IndyCar Series victory in the XPEL 375 at Texas Motor Speedway.
The Mexican driver, who joined Arrow McLaren SP last season has scored five top-three finishes since joining the team. O’Ward showed great speed out of the box this season as he claimed the NTT P1 Award for the season-opening Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park where he finished the race in fourth place.
At the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg last weekend, O’Ward started the race from fifth place on the grid but came home in 19th.
In the opening race of the Texas Motor Speedway doubleheader, the Genesys 300, O’Ward started the race from eleventh place on the grid and came home on the podium in third place behind race winner Scott Dixon and second-placed Scott McLaughlin.
It has really has been a matter of when not if Pato O’Ward would win a race and it is the perfect way for him to kick start the month of May.
Eight hours before Pato took victory in Texas, back in Portugal, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo had a strong race for the McLaren Formula One team as they scored a fifth and ninth-place finish respectively. Speaking following the race, Lando Norris said:
“Very happy with today. It was a strong race by the whole team, and a well-executed strategy. I got past the people I needed to get ahead of in the early laps at the start, then the restart and the pit-stop. I’m really pleased for everyone in the team and with my performance. We scored some good points and P5 was the best we could achieve today, so I’m very happy. Big thanks to everyone here and back at the factory for their hard work.”
Daniel Ricciardo came home in ninth place and speaking following the race he commented saying:
“Today was certainly a better day. I was able to do what I set out to do and overtake some cars, have some battles and get rid of some anger from yesterday, so that was good. I think there were moments of the race that were really positive and having got another race distance under me, I feel like I’ve got quite a bit of feedback for the team. I definitely feel some things which are holding me back in terms of what I want to do with the car, and every time I try it, it doesn’t quite hold on. So, I think there are some things we can immediately address with the set-up, and then with some updates to come. Overall, I’m pretty optimistic with how the race went, thanks again to the team at track and in Woking for their support and hard work this weekend. I’m already looking forward to Spain in a few days’ time.
McLaren Racing F1 Team Principal, Andreas Seidl commented saying:
Today we saw a great recovery drive. Well done to the entire team here at the track and back home, to both our drivers and to our colleagues from Mercedes HPP for striking back after a disappointing qualifying session yesterday. Lando completed another excellent weekend with a very strong drive to P5. Starting from P16, Daniel managed a very good first stint, making up a lot of positions at the start, delaying his pit-stop to gain further places, and then attacking at the end to finish P9, scoring another two important points for himself and for the team in the Constructors’ Championship.
“This result strengthened our hold on third position in the Constructors’ Championship, which is obviously very encouraging. It’s important we keep developing the car and delivering strong performances over the next few races – starting at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in less than five days’ time.
Next up for Formula One is the Spanish Grand Prix at the Barcelona Circuit Du Catalunya this weekend while following a mammoth start to the season with four races in three weeks, the NTT IndyCar Series takes a two-week break before the GMR Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course as they prepare for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge which takes place on Sunday, May 30. Arrow McLaren SP is joined for the month of May by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya.
Prior to Sunday’s win in Texas, McLaren Racing’s last victory came at the hands of Jenson Button at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Here’s to many more!