26 May 2014
Castroneves: 'I did everything I could'
Helio Castroneves insisted that he did everything he possibly could to overhaul Ryan Hunter-Reay at the end of the 2014 Indianapolis 500.
It was achingly close, but in the end Helio Castroneves was a car-length and 0.06s too far back to seal what would have been his fourth Indianapolis 500 title. It certainly hadn't been for want of trying, as the Brazilian was quick to point out.
"I used every inch," Castroneves said. "I think both of us used every inch of the track ... At the end of the day there is stupid and then there's bravery. I think we're right there on the edge, both of us, really trying."
After the red flag for debris from Townsend Bell's accident, the final six-lap shoot-out came down to a fierce two-man duel between Castroneves and Ryan Hunter-Reay with the lead changing several times between the pair. In the end, Andretti was able to get in front and hold off Castroneves' final attempts to re-pass him.
"Congrats to Andretti Autosport, Ryan Hunter-Reay - great race," said Castroneves. "He did everything he could. I did everything I could obviously to try to stop. Definitely unbelievable.
"But no matter what, coming on the front straight he was able to have a very good run. I was trying to do everything I could," he continued. "The car, the way it's designed, is very difficult to keep the guy behind
"I thought it was a very good race. We did exactly what we needed to do to make it happen," he said, after picking up 118 points in total for the work done at Indianapolis in the last fortnight which puts him into third place in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings.
"It's frustrating to be so close to something that only a few guys did, but I do not take [second] for granted," he added. "I'm extremely happy with the result. The car worked really well during the race. The team did a great job during the pit stops. It was the first time having Roger on the radio [which] was kind of awesome.
"We dodged, avoided a few issues out there, incidents, were able to put ourselves in a great position to win. Unfortunately, as I said, it wasn't our day [but] it was great to see an American driver winning."
Castroneves was the only one of the three-man Penske line-up not to get hit by a pit lane speeding violation, which effectively took his team mates Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya out of contention for the race win.
"We just screwed ourselves," confessed Power after finishing in eighth place, meaning he loses the lead in the championship standings to Hunter-Reay. "A bloody speeding in pit lane penalty just ruined our day. Otherwise, we would have been in great shape. We had dropped back a little bit further than we wanted but it wasn't bad. I could see the guys in the front dicing back and forth, as I thought it would be."
"Unfortunately I made a mistake on one of the pit stops when I was resetting the fuel. I pressed the wrong button. We got a penalty for that but we came back," said Montoya after ending his first Indy 500 since 2000 in fifth place. The 82 points he earned from this year's visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway means he's now in seventh place in the championship.
"I was proud of the way we fought. I don't think we had anything for the Hunter-Reay or Helio, but I was happy with the Verizon Chevy and it was good to be back in Indy," added the former F1 and NASCAR star. "It was cool to watch them swap the lead back and forth of the final laps. I had a good seat for it. I just wish we were in the middle of it, but we just had too much understeer at the end."
Montoya finished just half a second back from his fellow Colombian Carlos Munoz, who followed up last year's runner-up spot in his maiden Indy 500 with fourth place in 2014 - a strong record by anyone's standards. Munoz was one of four Andretti Autosport cars in the top six on Sunday, a resounding success for the squad.
"I'm really happy for the team," said the 22-year-old. "They won the 500: first, third, and fourth. It's a great result for the team. Congratulations to Ryan."
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