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Felix Rosenqvist Scores A ‘Massive Overdue’ Podium at Toronto

A strong Sunday in Toronto propels Felix Rosenqvist back into the top-10 in points. (Photo: Jack Shanlin | The Podium Finish)

Felix Rosenqvist and the Honda Indy Toronto had one thing in common this past Sunday: ending their two-year droughts of an INDYCAR podium and hosting a grand prix, respectively.

Since joining Arrow McLaren SP, Rosenqvist hasn’t reached a step of the podium. His last was at Road America when he was driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. However, that changed this past Sunday at Exhibition Place in Toronto, as he brought home a much-needed third place for the No. 7 organization.

Results that haven’t been on par to Pato O’Ward and an injury at Belle Isle last year have come to define Rosenqvist’s tenure with the team, but Toronto was a strong attempt of whitewashing the low points.

“It was massively overdue. We had so many good races. Even last year when we had such a struggle year, we still had times where we were fighting for wins. Just things end up happening,” said Rosenqvist.

“Mid-Ohio was pretty much a perfect race until we had a technical failure that ended our race. Texas earlier this year. Just so many races. Obviously I don’t like to say what could have happened.

“I think everyone on the team was ready for at least a podium, and also a win coming up here soon hopefully. Really, really good. Really good just for the guys on the car to give them something more than P4 or P5.”

However, his performance did not come without controversy as a battle with Alexander Rossi ended with consequences.

On Lap 45, Rosenqvist had a run on Rossi for fourth at the exit of the long Turn 3 straightaway. When he caught Rossi, the battle was short lived as they made contact which put Rossi into the barriers. It left his potential future teammate irate as Rossi was credited with a 23rd place finish.

When asked about the incident, the Swede made it clear that he had a good run and found a weakness from Rossi. On top of that, he felt that if Rossi had any reason to be upset, it should be on himself.

No chill from Rosenqvist when talking about the incident with Rossi. (Photo: Jack Shanlin | The Podium Finish)

“(Alexander) looked a bit weak in the braking on three. I did kind of a little surprise move. Was fairly far up by the time we turned in. I kind of thought that he had already given up on the corner. I just saw him, like, hang around the outside. I was like, Okay. I mean, fair play if you want to try to go around outside. At some point you run out of road,” Rosenqvist explained the drama.

“I think he probably bumped his wheel or something. That’s kind of what it felt like. He ran into my side pod, probably lost a wheel and hit the wall.

“I don’t know if it was fair play, to be honest. He normally races hard. I’ve been racing him previously where it’s been to his advantage in that situation and I’ve lost a bunch of spots. Today he lost his race,” Roseqvist continued.

“Obviously, I don’t want to see him in the wall, but it was just a hard pass, hard racing. There wasn’t a penalty, so I think that kind of explains everything.”

As for Rosenqvist, the rest of his race went calm and rounded out the podium that saw him improve from 11th to ninth in the championship standings, capping off what was a good weekend for the No. 7 squad in spite of not being among the quickest overall.

As common with IndyCar races, strategy played a key role into the strong afternoon in Canada.

“It’s been a good weekend. A good race, as well. I don’t think we’ve been the fastest all weekend, but I just did the basics right,” said Rosenqvist. “I think we did a good lap in qualify, got us to P8. Then the strategy in the race. Obviously in Toronto it’s hard to pass. The plan was if you have an opportunity, try to pass, nail the pit stops.

“We had an advantageous pit stall this weekend in the left turn, which probably gives you like a second, second and a half compared to some other guys who are in the right turn. All those kind of things together I think allowed us to go forward in the race.

“We were saving a lot of fuel early on. It looked like we were going to have a big advantage there at the end. That last yellow kind of played into Colton and Scott’s favor. Congrats to Scott, by the way. Good to see him back on the P1. I think it was a fun race. Good, hard battles out there on a good, hard track. Very physical. Very warm. Yeah, no, good fun.”

For the first time since Elkhart Lake in 2020, it’s a podium finish for Rosenqvist. (Photo: Jack Shanlin | The Podium Finish)

All the talk from Toronto was the future of Alex Palou, who is involved in a tug-o-war contractual battle between his soon-to-be former team in Ganassi and his 2023 squad in McLaren.

Rosenqvist does have a contract with McLaren after the 2022 season, but no indication as to which racing series he’ll be competing. The team indicated they’ll announce the 2023 driving lineup across INDYCAR, Formula One, Extreme E and Formula E at a later date.

With a podium effort, he feels confident that a potential ride in Formula E would have happened by now if McLaren CEO Zak Brown wanted him to do so next year.

“I don’t know what’s going on there. At the moment it doesn’t sound like Alex’s going to race at all. It’s up to lawyers and stuff,” Rosenqvist on Palou’s future.

“Honestly it’s not my business at all. I think honestly it hasn’t really changed anything. This whole deal went down months ago. I didn’t know all the details of it that I know now, but nothing has actually changed.

“I think if Zak was sure I was going to FE, he would have already said it. I’m going to take that chance. If there’s a chance for me to be here next year, I’m going to try to prove I can do that.”

Rosenqvist will look to continue his momentum in the Hy-Vee Doubleheader Weekend at Iowa Speedway. Live race coverage for the 250 begins Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET. Iowa will host Sunday’s Hy-Vee Salute to Farmers 300 at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

Throughout my young motorsports media career, my number-one goal is to be a personnel that can be flexible with my writing and photography in the world of NASCAR, INDYCAR and ARCA. Content delivery is vital because this is my main passion and what keeps me going. I've dealt with several challenges in my life, such as autism and making most out of trips despite relying on transportation. Even my quest of finding acceptance in my profession which has been my biggest challenge since graduating from college in 2016. Despite those hurdles with Motorsports Tribune and now The Podium Finish, I promise that you'll see excellence with my content. With two National Motorsports Press Association photography awards, I'm not slowing down anytime soon. Outside of media, I'm super vocal about my musical tastes that goes from Metallica to HAIM. Not only that, expect my social media filled with references nobody will understand, especially Licorice Pizza.

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