Marcus Ericsson, a veteran of five seasons in Formula 1 and now in his fourth year in IndyCar, registered the biggest result of his career with victory at the 2022 edition of the Indy 500.
Driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, the Swede started fifth and spent much of the 200-lap race trading places with the frontrunners before assuming the lead in the latter stages. He then built up a 3sec lead at the head of the field and looked set to cruise home, only for a red flag to be thrown with six laps left.
Under intense pressure from the Arrow McLaren SP of Pato O’Ward—seeking a second Mexican victory of the day after Sergio Perez’s dramatic Monaco Grand Prix win—Ericsson defended aggressively after the restart and clung on to become only the second Swedish winner of the Indy 500 after Kenny Brack in 1999.
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“Incredible feeling being the winner of the Indianapolis 500,” said Ericsson after the race. “I still can’t believe it. I want to thank Chip Ganassi Racing, my teammates, Chip, of course, everyone else, Husky Chocolate, Honda...it was a true team effort and I’m so thankful to be here in Victory Lane.
“Also all the fans back home in Sweden, and all the fans who were here today at Speedway. It was an incredible feeling racing in front of all of you, and to be there in Victory Lane, drinking the milk, is something I will never forget.”
Ericsson becomes the latest in a long line of former F1 drivers to taste success at the Brickyard, the most recent being Takuma Sato (2017, 2020) and Alexander Rossi (2016).
You’ll remember Fernando Alonso got close on his debut in 2017, but didn’t manage to qualify the following year and placed 21st in 2020.
Meanwhile, fellow F1 graduate Romain Grosjean lined up in ninth for Andretti Autosport this year’s race, but crashed out just after half-distance.
Ericsson now leads the IndyCar standings on account of his double points haul for winning at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with O-Ward and Alex Palou not far adrift in second and third respectively.
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.