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James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport - Q&A

6 May 2013

It's been either feast or famine so for for James Hinchcliffe in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series: after winning the season opener in St Petersburg, the next two races were both early DNFs. But on Sunday he bounded right back into victory lane with his second career win, beating Takuma Sato in an exciting battle to the line in Sao Paulo.

As the race was held in Brazil, many of the questions were asked by local journalists speaking Portuguese and an English translation of what they said was not available.

Q:
We proceed with the press conference. Congratulations for the results today, James.

James, (in Portuguese.)

James Hinchcliffe:
I don't think I was sure until after we crossed the line. You know, that last restart I started second with Takuma there and lost a few spots. That was tough. I knew we didn't have that many laps left.

Luckily the car was good. We were taking care of those Firestone red tires pretty well. I was able to get by Pagenaud. Thankfully Takuma and Josef were racing. Without that, I don't think we had a shot.

Once I got around Josef, I knew I had more overtakes than Takuma did and thought, This might be possible. He was doing such a good job making it wide, making it difficult to pass going into the last corner, I didn't think we had it. Going into the last corner, he overshot it. It wasn't really until I crossed the line that I realized, We got it.

Q:
(In Portuguese.)

James Hinchcliffe:
Absolutely. To win a race on the last corner of the last lap is one of the coolest feelings. It's races like this that people remember. It was a good show right from the start of the race till the end, a lot of passing, changes in strategy, things like that. I think to make a last-corner pass, that's something I'll remember for a long time.

Q:
Questions for James.

Q:
James, I think you already described everything about the race. But when you was looking in the sky, for sure you saw it was getting a little bit gray. Did you have a chance to think about, Uh-oh?

James Hinchcliffe:
This race has a history of raining on us. This is the first time we've been here with absolutely no rain, and the first time that Will Power has not won the race. Let's hope we don't get rain for the rest of the season (laughter).

But, no, we saw the clouds coming in. I was pretty confident that it wasn't going to play a factor in the race. Thankfully it didn't. That would have thrown one more curve ball at everybody. It's not something we weren't prepared for. Whenever you come here, you're ready for rain.

Q:
(In Portuguese.)

James Hinchcliffe:
I mean, it means everything to me. Obviously, Greg Moore was my hero growing up. When I got to IndyCar, the biggest pressure I put on myself was to maintain the reputation that Canada has with their IndyCar drivers. To be able to do that now, not only make it to this level, be successful at that level. I'm proud. My country, they really get behind their drivers. I was told this on the way over here, the last time a Canadian won in Brazil, it was Greg Moore back in '98.

To be able to do that as well is very, very special for me.

Q:
Hinch, was that blocking there in the end? And also comment on the hard-fought end of the race.

James Hinchcliffe:
At the time I thought it was a block, because my hand didn't fly off the steering wheel on its own. It is tough here. The back straight kind of having a snaking sort of feature to it, it is tough to judge where the other car is.

But I felt that I got out early enough. I had to hit the brakes or I was going into the guardrail. That's something that we have to talk about, to look at certainly.

But other than that, I mean, he was doing a very good job making the car wide. You have to give Firestone so much credit for these great races we're having, because you have the reds, the blacks that go off at different levels for different teams and drivers. That's really what we saw.

I was able to have a little bit more tire I think under me at the end of the race, was able to get around Pagenaud, Newgarden, and we were quicker than Takuma, but getting by him was a different story.

Yeah, it was great racing. That's what the fans want to see. That's what we want to do, have a street track that allows you to do that, the long straightaway and the hairpin in the corner. It was a lot of fun at the end of the day.

Q:
(In Portuguese.)

James Hinchcliffe:
Yeah, I heard again in the truck on the way over here, the pass happened in the last corner, everybody in the front straight jumps up. The Brazilian fans are so cool, they're so passionate. Whether they love you or hate you, they let you know. We love that.

This is a passionate, emotional sport. When you have fans that are like that as well, I think it's a lot of fun.

I'm happy we were able to put on a good show because that's what we're here for. If it wasn't for the fans turning up, there's no reason to be here. It's good we could put an exciting race for them and a new winner. You guys must have been getting sick of Will winning all the time.

Q:
James, I'd like to ask you, this is your second win this season, and what can we expect for the championship and with the oval circuits? What are your expectations for maybe winning a title at the end of the year?

James Hinchcliffe:
It's still very early to think 'championship'. We have a lot of races left. Obviously of the four races we've done this year, I've DNF'd in two of them. That really hurts. DNF's really hurt your championship chances.

Hopefully that's behind us now. The joke is that we've won every race we've finished. If we can keep doing that, we'll be all right.

Heading into the ovals, Andretti Autosport had competitive cars at Indy last year, strong cars in the race. We improved over the winter. Obviously everyone else will have as well. If we can keep our momentum up, a day like today proves that when things aren't necessarily going your way, if you keep fighting, don't give up, you can end up on top. That's what this team is good at.

If we can do that week in and week out, we'll see where we are with three or four races to go.

Q:
(In Portuguese.)

James Hinchcliffe:
Well, so do we get to split the money that you won (laughter)?

Q:
James, with two laps to go, you had one push, Sato had none. You tried to save it. But you almost lose your position to Josef. How did you manage this 'push to pass' in the last five laps?

James Hinchcliffe:
It's so tough, especially here because it's worth so much. I wasted two in the race. One of them I hit right as a yellow came out. One of them I hit, actually I was right behind Tony when his car broke. I'm sitting there at the end of the race thinking there's two I should have that I don't have.

I knew how many Takuma had. It's so tough when you're trying to race guys and also monitor the people behind you. That's the only reason I caught up to those two in the first place because they were racing. I was very conscious of Josef being there. I knew I had to try it on the last lap. Luckily it worked out.

It's so tempting to use it so many times during the race. For the two times I lost them, I think of other times that I didn't use them and thought, I might want to save it. Thank God I did.

Q:
(In Portuguese.)

James Hinchcliffe:
I think anybody that sits in a car has a lot of respect for Senna. I was quite young when he was killed. It's one of the first sort of memories I have of racing because obviously that was very big news even back in Canada. I was quite young. I remember seeing things in the newspaper, trying to understand that someone had died. I didn't really know who he was then.

As I became a fan of racing, you look through all the tapes, video, everything that that guy accomplished, who he was as a person, I think there are very few racing drivers, especially in open-wheel, that doesn't have him in their top three heroes on the racetrack.

Q:
(In Portuguese.)

James Hinchcliffe:
Well, I know which one I'd like to happen (laughter). Certainly you want to win that one. If there's one race you want to win, it's Indianapolis. We had a strong car there last year, like I said. We'll see. There's just so much that can happen in a 500-mile race. The team was good. The Go Daddy car was strong last year. Hopefully on lap 199 we're in a position to be at least battling for that win.

Q:
What can you say about the track in Indianapolis? It's a very particular one. What can you tell us about the track?

James Hinchcliffe:
The track at Indianapolis is obviously very different to here, but very different to other ovals. It's four distinct corners, all very different. The speeds we reach there are faster than anywhere else we go, faster than any other open-wheel car in the world. It's where we go the quickest.

It's one of those tracks where your car is on edge the whole time. You have to be paying so much attention. Oriol Servia compared Indianapolis to a woman. Some days she loves you, treats you well, some days she is mad at you and you don't know why.

That's one of the reasons for being there at Indy for the whole month, the race being as long as it is, predict what it's going to do, change and react to the changes. It's a very, very challenging racetrack.

Q:
Thank you very much.

James Hinchcliffe:
Thank you.

Transcript courtesy IndyCar. FastScripts by ASAP Sports


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