It's been three and a half years to get here, but I always believed I can challenge. Basically I just try keep on going and really appreciate that finally I'm learning what I wanted to.
Q. What crossed your mind when you took the checkered flag?
In fact, I was really enjoying driving. I didn't want to finish the race because it felt so good. I could keep continue.
But I think in the last five laps you can feel the whole tension be there. Larry saying three laps, two laps. This is my first win in a major category over Formula 3, my last race on the top of the podium. But this is the one and feels so easy when you win like this. Everything just was perfect. Just make sure you don't have the bad luck. Just make sure you don't make the mistake and the win is there. I always believe this. I think this guy and the whole team really made me happen.
Q. Larry, how long has your engineering team been in place? Was it difficult to get AJ to move on with the engineering? Once upon a time he just depended on Shorty.
This is the second year we've kind of had the same group together. We've been building synergy there. AJ is one of those people that you have to earn his trust. Once you have it, you've got it.
I think Don, the chief engineer, got it quickly. AJ knows more about these racecars than anybody.
For so long he did it all himself. I think we've come to a day and age where you can't do that anymore, you really have to rely on people. They get along great. Once AJ trusts you like that, you're golden.
Q. Larry, I believe you said that was as close to a perfect race as you'd seen a driver run. Long Beach, a challenging course. Expand on that a little bit.
It was unbelievable. Every restart he timed it perfectly. He did a great job in the pits. He hit his marks. Like you say, it's so hard to have a perfect day in racing, I don't think I've ever seen one if there was one, I think Takuma did it today. I didn't see him make a mistake out there all day. It was a fantastic drive. He did everything we asked.
Toward the end we wanted to be safe on fuel. We thought we were okay, but there was no sense in taking the risk. I was just asking him to save me a little fuel and he was still pulling away from Graham. I couldn't believe it. Too good to be true. He just did a great job.
Like he said, the team did a great job in the pits. Like we've been saying, we have the speed, we just had to put it all together, and we did it today.
Q. Takuma, coming from the number of years in F1, now you're here in IndyCar, the competition is close in this series, how does F1 compare to this kind of racing? Did you have more fun here?