3 June 2013
Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsport - Q&A
Simon, you've had a pretty interesting career path. Tell me a little bit about when your open-wheel career stalled, you started a sports car career, did you think you would be able to transition from that into standing here talking about your first win?
Well, I believe you always have to believe to make it happen. There were a lot of tough moments, especially the end of 2007, 2008. Gil de Ferran called me, Honda. They hired me to go in sports car. Honestly, at that time I was an open-wheel kind of guy. Didn't want to give up on my dream.
At the end of the day it's also a business. That's what you do as a business, as a work. I thought, Why not? Why not try in sports car, maybe I can gain experience, learn more things, open my mind.
Honestly, when I went through sports car, I think I'm learning a lot. I learned how to work on tyre development, engine development, electronics, and aerodynamics, which honestly I had no idea on all those items what I was talking about before 2008.
I learned a lot because Gil, my teammate, was an open book. We spent hours chitchatting around the table, explaining me things. I just drank everything he had to say. It helped a lot. I think sports cars definitely was the biggest move of my career to come back. The hardest thing was to have someone trust the fact that I could come back and be a strong open-wheel driver.
We're pleased to have the team owners, Sam Schmidt, Davey Hamilton. Congratulations. A big milestone. Sam, we have to ask, you're the winningest team owner in Indy Lights, now you get the first IndyCar win. Talk about it.
This is better. I don't know if I'd give up all those wins and championships for this, but this is really huge. I know what Simon is feeling like right now because I had a chance to win one race as a driver. Been a long road, long journey these last 13, 14 years. Obviously, wouldn't be here today without (co-owner) Ric (Peterson) and Davey. Yeah, just fantastic. Thank you very much.
Simon, you've been a loyal Honda driver. This race is in General Motors' hometown. Talk about the way Honda performed in the Indy 500 last week, Honda disappointed, to come here this weekend and dominate both races.
Honda are famous for making great race engines. That's what they did at Indy 500. They came back very strong. I believe Justin was fifth and we were eighth. We were running for almost the lead at some points there. We came back very strong. We had a very fast car. They worked really hard. I think they understood how the engine is working a little bit better at Indy, and it's paying off here in Detroit.
It's very sweet for them to win in General Motors' city, but I want to thank GM for putting this event. It's great to have promoters and partners. I wouldn't bash them at all. I think what they're doing here is fantastic. But I'm definitely proud of Honda's work and proud to be part of the family.
Simon, what was your reaction to Vautier? Did you think that was your bad moment?
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