INDIANAPOLIS — Simon Pagenaud won the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on Saturday by stretching his fuel to the finish on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Frenchman was one of several drivers to gamble on fuel strategy, and he made it stick for the final 29 laps for his third IndyCar victory, first this season. Pagenaud took the lead when Oriol Servia stopped for fuel with four laps left and finished with one eye on his mirrors.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was second and Helio Castroneves third on his 39th birthday.
"Man, I didn't know what we were asking for, but we made fuel," Pagenaud said. "The fuel saving was amazing. It was nerve-wracking. I was worried about RHR coming back, and I didn't know what Helio was doing here. I don't like racing off throttle."
St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais and Charlie Kimball rounded out the top five.
James Hinchcliffe left the track on a stretcher and was diagnosed with a concussion. A replay appeared to show he had been hit by debris from a car in front of him after a restart. He was treated and released at the hospital and will be evaluated before he's allowed to get back in the car, according to IndyCar. Practice begins today at the track for the May 25 Indianapolis 500.
The race began with a violent wreck when pole-sitter Sebastian Saavedra stalled on the standing start. His car was hit by multiple cars, and debris struck Indianapolis Mayor and honorary race starter Greg Ballard as he waved the green flag. Hunter-Reay, who started third right behind Saavedra, frantically darted around him. More cars missed, but Saavedra was clipped by Carlos Munoz, then hit hard from behind by Mikhail Aleshin.
Ballard suffered minor injuries. Marc Lotter, a spokesman for the mayor, said Ballard was struck near his left elbow and on the left side of his chest by debris.
Formula One: Lewis Hamilton earned the pole for today's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, edging Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg with a late lap of 1 minute, 25.232 seconds. Four-time defending series champion Sebastian Vettel stalled and was demoted to 15th on the grid after setting the 10th-best qualifying time in his Red Bull.