Rookie Felix Rosenqvist lived up to his expectations with a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The 27-year-old from Värnamo, Sweden led 31 laps in his NTT IndyCar Series debut and ran in the top-five for most of the day and survived a hurting right arm to claim a top-five finish.

The driver of the No. 10 NTT Data Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing felt that the solid day gave him a lot to build on as he perfects his racecraft.

 “I have to work a bit on driving, especially at the end of the race,” he said “My right arm was fading at the end of the race. My seat was pinching into my shoulder, and I really tried to hang on the last 20 laps and pushed a little bit towards Power.”

The former DTM driver wasted no time at the start of the 110-lap event and overtook Josef Newgarden in Turn one.

He trailed Power for the opening stint and cycled out behind Power until the yellow flag on Lap 20 flew for Ryan Hunter-Reay having a mechanical problem.

He moved back into second after the remaining cars pitted. That gave him an opportunity to pounce on the Lap 23 restart, nearly replicating his move on the start to take the lead from Power. After pulling a brilliant defense on Power, he maintained a steady one-second margin over the next stint.

He pitted from the lead on Lap 50 but had a close moment as he exited the pits in Turn 2 as Power was rounding the corner on warmed up tyres.

Rosenqvst got loose but saved the car but could only watch as Power pulled away. He felt in the moment that Power could have given him room, but later admitted that it was something for him to learn.

“I thought that he would give the room – that his spotter would tell him I was there,” he said. “It was like a near miss there. It’s something to learn.”

He led one more lap during the final stop exchange before pitting on Lap 81. The stop was flawless and he rejoined the race in fourth place. His teammate Scott Dixon passed Power for second, but Rosenqvist was unable to close on him and crossed the line in fourth place.

While he couldn't claim a podium, Rosenqvist was positive afterward and enjoyed battling up front with the likes of race winner Josef Newgarden, Will Power and teammate Dixon.

“I felt the pace at the beginning was really good and then I started fading towards the end,” he said. “It was a good restart and I was right on his tail there. It was really dirty off line and hard to move. Our car was really fast there. I think my driving, I can work on things during the race.”

With his first IndyCar race now in the rear-view mirror, Rosevqvist is ready to move forward and thrive for the next 17 races.

Team owner Chip Ganassi was also bullish about his driver’s day. Having had his sights set on him for three years since he first tested with the team in 2016, the 12-time championship winning owner feels that the early returns are good.

“We’ve had our eye on him for a couple of years,” he said. “We wanted to get him in a car and thought he could do a good job. It’s certainly something that we can build on.”

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