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Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt-Hamilton Motorsport - Q&A

Feels like the 24 Hours of Le Mans all again. Certainly 70 laps is a long race, especially in IndyCar, which I believe is one of the toughest racecars to drive at the moment without the power steering, which is a great thing. It rewards drivers who go to the gym. So I'm happy about that. At the end of the second race you're holding on on nerves more so than anything else. Being in the lead really helps.

Sam Schmidt:
Well, yeah, I've now been away from my home for four weeks straight. I'm living it every day with the crew. The 48-hour turnaround after Indy, we're fortunate all of our cars were brought home in one piece. Literally 48 hours they left our shop for moving up here. We've had a great group of individuals. We've grown substantially over the last couple years to I think 38 employees, partners there. They've all meshed really well. I think we have a fantastic chemistry amongst all the guys. We're all pushing the same direction. Nobody had their heads down. They knew what they had to do and they got it done. Kudos to the drivers for keeping the cars in one piece. That made life easier. But the next three or four weeks is not going to be easy.

Q:
Last year here you qualified fourth and finished third. How much development have all the teams done with the DW12s where you could be so struggling yesterday, and how close was today's setup to what you had last year where you were the class of the field other than the two Ganassi guys?

Simon Pagenaud:
Yeah, it's a fair comment. But it's not three seconds, we're talking 7/10ths, 6/10ths of a second, all of a sudden you're at the back of the field. It's amazing. Track position also made a big difference today. But, you know, the understanding of how to ride the bumps better. You want to spend the most time as possible on the ground. That's definitely what we improved on overnight. Yesterday we were spending way too much time up in the air. The ride was very rough. We didn't know why.

Last year we were pretty good. But the tarmac has changed on most corners. So in areas where we were good last year, we're still good. But in areas that have changed, we're now in good shape. We tried a few different things that were quite new and didn't work out yesterday, so we tried the other way with the same things and it worked out in the morning.

It's not that simple. All the guys, they have to dig really deep into the data to understand how to gain grip. That's exactly what they did. So hats off to them because you got to be pretty smart to understand those things right now.

Transcript courtesy IndyCar. FastScripts by ASAP Sports.



Related Pictures

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Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Detroit Belle Isle double-header - Sunday June 2 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media.)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Detroit Belle Isle double-header - Sunday June 2 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media.)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Detroit Belle Isle double-header - Sunday June 2 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media.)
Simon Pagenaud celebrates victory in the second race of the Detroit Belle Isle double-header - Sunday June 2 2013. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media.)
Simon Pagenaud (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on course during practice at Long Beach (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud meets fans at Long Beach on Friday (Photo by: Chris Jones  for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on track at Long Beach on Friday (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud on course during practice at Long Beach -- Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media
James Hinchcliffe on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens)
James Hinchcliffe on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones)
Dario Franchitti reviews data in the Target Chip Ganassi pit stand at the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia sits in his car on pit lane during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway preps to head out on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud sits in his machine prior to practice during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mikhail Aleshin on course during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves sits in his machine on pit lane during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya sits in his car on pitlane during the 2014 Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday March 18. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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