After taking victory in the first race of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series, James Hinchcliffe talks about the St Petersburg race, finally making it to the winner's circle, and what it's been like following in the footsteps of Danica Patrick and Dan Wheldon in the sport.
We'll jump into it with James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport. How does it feel to get your first win?
It's awesome. There's been a lot of talk about it in the off-season, when that first one was going to come, what we had to do to get there. My answer was always the same. We had to minimize the mistakes. The team is good, the car is good, the engineers are good. We proved last year the team is capable of winning. It's down to me on any given Sunday to minimize mistakes.
We capitalized on restarts. The last restart was on blacks, everyone around us was on reds. Helio made a mistake. I thought I would lead for a couple laps, but he would catch up. For that many laps on technically the slower tires took everything out of me.
I was so happy to get it done and get Go Daddy its first win in IndyCar, Chevrolet back in Victory Circle, one, two, three on the podium, podium sweep. My teammate on the podium. It's just a helluva day.
Michael was in here a little while ago and he said he knew with 10 laps left he wasn't worried. In those 10 laps, did you think you had it won?
I'm glad he was calm about it (laughter).
It wasn't till about four to go, I opened up a little bit of a gap. All weekend we really struggled out of the last corner. Obviously that leads onto the longest straightaway and best passing opportunity. Those black and white cars were really quick in that part of the track.
For me the focus was getting out of turn 10. I knew no matter what I did I was going to be slow compared to him out of the last corner. It was just being absolutely picture perfect lap after lap. I had a couple more overtakes than he did. With four to go I opened up enough of a gap that I could save the fuel I need to save and not make any mistakes.
Man, it's the realization of a dream, being a winner in IndyCar. Especially for Canada it's really cool.
There's been a lot of discussion after this win about personality, for obvious reasons. Michael Andretti said you're one of the great ones. Where do you see your personality fitting into IndyCar and does this first victory give you a chance to amplify that to the fan base?
We'll see. I think that fans certainly like a winner. Now we can call ourselves that. Hopefully it's not the last one.
But I've always tried to be myself at the racetrack. I think some people at some points in my career thought that maybe I wasn't taking my job seriously enough or something like that.