INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A seventh-place finish isn’t everything James Hinchcliffe was hoping for at the 2016 Indianapolis 500, but the Schmidt Peterson driver will still look back on the month of May with fond memories.
“I have to give everybody on the Arrow crew a ton of credit for the effort the entire month,” Hinchcliffe said after the race. “Coming in third at the GP of Indy, qualifying on the pole and the race here, it was a solid effort.”
Hinchcliffe helped give the Speedway crowd a show right after the green flag dropped, as he traded the lead back-and-forth with Ryan Hunter-Reay 12 times during the first 27 laps of the race. Ultimately, the weather conditions proved too strong to stay out in the very front down the stretch.
“We were super strong the first half and definitely had one of the cars to beat,” Hinchcliffe added. “It was really just track temperatures that caught us out there. We started losing grip as the temperatures came up late in the afternoon and the last two stints were a real struggle when we tried to make the tires last. Well, more than a stint because we came in for that splash of fuel at the end.”
Hinch joined a significant crowd of leaders pitting for fuel with just a few laps to go, but Andretti-Herta driver Alexander Rossi’s fuel-saving strategy paved off, as the rookie took the checkered flag for the victory.
“Congrats to Alex and great to see Honda back on top,” said Hinchcliffe. “Realistically, I think we had a third- or fourth-place effort today, which is nothing to turn your nose up at.”
In total, Hinchcliffe held the lead on 11 separate occasions and finished leading the second-most laps on the day with 27 (behind Hunter-Reay’s 52). After six races in this IndyCar season, he sits in fifth-place in the driver standings.