Felix Rosenqvist Breaks Records with Natural Driving Style

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Why record-setting Felix Rosenqvist is ‘driving naturally’

Throughout the weekend, the Swede’s pace emerged as a dominant force, culminating in a record-setting performance that secured him a spot on the front row for Sunday’s 100-lap race, heralding the beginning of the 2024 IndyCar Series season.

In the Top 12 segment of qualifying, Rosenqvist unleashed a blistering lap of 59.2706 seconds around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit. This not only shattered the previous track record of 59.3466 seconds set by Will Power in 2022 but also propelled Rosenqvist into the Fast Six.

Despite his remarkable showing, the 32-year-old narrowly missed out on pole position by a mere 0.0058 seconds, resulting in the closest front row in an IndyCar street circuit event since June 2012. This tight margin saw Josef Newgarden of Team Penske claim his 17th career pole position with a late surge.

Nonetheless, Rosenqvist’s performance was commendable, especially considering it was his debut race weekend with Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) following his off-season switch from Arrow McLaren.

Felix Rosenqvist Breaks Records with Natural Driving Style
Felix Rosenqvist Breaks Records with Natural Driving Style (Credits: Motorsport)

Reflecting on his performance, Rosenqvist remarked, “I feel like I’ve been driving very naturally all weekend. I haven’t overthought my approach to braking and acceleration.

It’s been instinctive, and I believe that’s when I perform at my best.” He credited his team for understanding his preferences with the car and emphasized the support from the tight-knit group at Andretti.

Rosenqvist, who led the opening practice session on Friday, not only achieved his best qualifying result in St. Petersburg but also marked the fourth time MSR secured a front-row start.

“This result is a significant morale boost for the entire team,” Rosenqvist commented. “We proved our competitiveness early in the week, and now we’re focused on translating this into a strong race performance.”

Looking ahead, Rosenqvist highlighted the importance of refining his race craft and expressed confidence in his familiarity with the St. Petersburg circuit.

This marks Rosenqvist’s second stint behind the wheel of a Honda-powered machine, having previously raced under the Japanese manufacturer during his tenure with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Reflecting on the switch back to Honda, Rosenqvist acknowledged a familiarity with the engine’s characteristics, which he believes contributed to his swift adaptation.

While discussing his preference for the Honda powerband, Rosenqvist acknowledged the nuances of different tracks but expressed satisfaction with his return to Honda.

Rosenqvist’s stellar performance and strong partnership with Meyer Shank Racing set an optimistic tone for the upcoming season, showcasing his potential as a contender in the IndyCar Series.

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