Herta, who led 91 of the 95 laps, was underneath biggest menace through the race every time he reached backmarkers, permitting championship chief Alex Palou to shut as much as inside a second of the Andretti driver.
Requested by Autosport if he felt it was time for IndyCar to wave blue flags at backmarkers and encourage them to maneuver apart, as in different topline race sequence, Herta replied: “Sure and no. Within the automotive, for those who had been to ask me, I’d have mentioned, yeah, like 100% we’d like blue flag.
“However I feel from, like, the buyer side, it makes the race extra fascinating, particularly once you come to a spot like this, that is so arduous to overhaul.
“You are both ready on your tyres to drastically fall off, which by no means occurs for the top-running guys, or one thing like [traffic].
“It made the race fascinating on the entrance. Earlier than that, I had a six- or seven-plus-second lead over Alex for lots, [for the] first half of the race.
“That actually clamped it down and introduced him proper to me. It was one thing new for me. I would by no means actually had that in IndyCar, the place I used to be lapping individuals and struggling to lap individuals [while also] having a automotive that I am having to defend from.
“It positively made it extra traumatic, but it surely makes the race extra enjoyable. In Detroit when that occurred, I wasn’t within the place to win. I feel I used to be, like, third at the moment, it was much more enjoyable.
“Once you’re main, it is not as enjoyable. Every other place it offers you a chance to win, which that is what IndyCar racing is about, proper?
“You’ll be able to win from wherever. Like we noticed [Romain] Grosjean began thirteenth and completed third. I feel it is part of IndyCar racing that is at all times type of been there.”
Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Photograph by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images
Herta admits he had been shocked to see Grosjean on the rostrum, provided that the Dale Coyne Racing driver began thirteenth.
“I used to be very confused on how that occurred, particularly at this place, proper?” mentioned Herta. “I feel he was in an ideal place to make use of that technique of utilizing his two units of recent reds [having failed to reach the Top 12 in qualifying]. He used it very properly.
“The tyre scenario was so fascinating. The used reds had been dropping off and falling off by lap 11, whereas the brand new reds you’ll be able to run till lap 20 and nonetheless be pushing after that.
“I do not suppose I’ve ever seen a deficit that a lot between two-lap-old reds versus brand-new reds, a 10-lap distinction in degradation, which is fairly loopy.”
Late within the race, Herta radioed to his strategist and father, two-time Laguna Seca winner Bryan Herta, to test his entrance wing as he’d hit an animal on the climb from Flip 5 to Flip 6.
“It was both a squirrel or a bunny, I do not know. Final time I used to be right here there have been a variety of squirrels on the observe, so I think about it was a kind of guys, sadly.
“However he got here together with me to win the race, so… He is gained an IndyCar race. He is obtained much more than a variety of IndyCar drivers!”
Herta agreed that the squirrel on the entrance wing crossed the road forward of him, including, “Yeah, he actually gained the race.”