Palou powers to IndyCar Grand Prix victory

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Spain;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Spain</a>'s Alex Palou clinched back-to-back victories at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday (Logan Riely)
Spain's Alex Palou clinched back-to-back victories at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday (Logan Riely)

Spain's Alex Palou produced a masterful drive to clinch back-to-back victories at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday.

Reigning IndyCar Series champion Palou led for 39 of the 85 laps on the challenging 2.44-mile combined road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to take the chequered flag ahead of Will Power and Christian Lundgaard.

After starting on pole, Chip Ganassi Racing driver Palou recovered after being passed by Lundgaard on the first turn to drive a superb tactical race that propelled him to the top of the season driver's standings.

"We made a mistake at the start and lost our position, but everybody on the crew, the engineers and mechanics did an amazing job on the pits and gave me that lead back," Palou said afterwards.

"It's an amazing win, it's great to be back-to-back here and we're going to continue this in May," the Spaniard added, admitting the team was already targeting this month's Indianapolis 500 showpiece.

"We're going to celebrate for sure, but then this afternoon the attention will switch to the big one, as soon as we've had some champagne," Palou said.

Team Penske driver Power meanwhile was left ruing yet another second place finish after trailing in 6.61secs behind Palou. The Australian has now finished second seven times since his last IndyCar race victory.

"You do get sick of finishing second," Power admitted. "You're just racing very tough people and if you're not exactly perfect, you won't win.

"So I wasn't exactly perfect in qualifying, and I didn't win."

An action-packed race on 14-turn circuit got off to a chaotic start, with multiple cars leaving the track at the first turn.

The drama continued with Romain Grosjean and Santino Ferrucci clashing after both drivers had traded insults after the morning warm-up.

AJ Foyt driver Ferrucci appeared to be the instigator of the flashpoint, forcing Grosjean off the track at turn 12 on the second lap.

French veteran Grosjean could be heard swearing over his cockpit radio after the incident. The 25-year-old Ferrucci later retired with engine trouble on lap 56.

There was more controversy when Andretti Global's Marcus Ericsson was penalized five places for making illegal contact with team-mate Colton Herta, the pre-race championship leader.

A furious Herta unleashed an expletive-laden tirade against Sweden's Ericsson, with team members in the pits urging him to "get settled down."

Herta recovered to work his way through the field and post a respectable seventh place finish.

But Herta could not hide his disgust at Ericsson's driving following the race.

"Your teammate's leading the championship and you race like an ass like that?" Herta said afterwards. "I don't know what he's thinking...He runs me clean off the track, you've got to be smarter than that man. So dumb."