Hinchcliffe wins in Brazil after last lap pass on Sato
Sao Paulo, Brazil (Sports Network) - James Hinchcliffe won his second race of the season after passing Takuma Sato in the final turn of the last lap in Sunday's IndyCar Series race on the streets of Sao Paulo.
Sato, who claimed his first IndyCar victory two weeks ago in Long Beach, Calif., had Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden and Marco Andretti challenging him for the lead during the final five laps around this 2.536-mile temporary street circuit.
After Hinchcliffe overtook Newgarden for second with three laps to go, Sato blocked Hinchcliffe twice in trying to protect his lead. But Hinchcliffe made his winning pass on Sato in turn 11 of the final lap and then beat him to the finish line by 0.35 seconds.
"There's no cooler way to win a race, in the last corner of the last lap," said Hinchcliffe, who led only the last lap. "Takuma was making that race car really wide, and he was defending the inside pretty well, almost too well a couple times. He just outbroke himself just a little bit, and I was able to do a high-low (pass) and got the win."
Hinchcliffe won the season-opener in St. Petersburg, Fla. but had finished 26th in the last two races -- Birmingham, Ala. and Long Beach.
Sato led a race-high 22 laps in the 75-lap race. With his second-place run, Sato took the points lead for the first time in his IndyCar career. The A.J. Foyt Racing driver has a 13-point lead over Andretti, who finished third, heading into the May 26 Indianapolis 500, the next event on the season schedule.
"It was a really solid day for us," Sato said. "It was a great, great race, and we're carrying good momentum into Indianapolis."
Oriol Servia finished fourth, while Newgarden wound up fifth. E.J. Viso took the sixth spot, followed by Dario Franchitti, Simona de Silvestro, Simon Pagenaud and Charlie Kimball.
While Andretti Autosport drivers Hinchcliffe and Andretti appeared on the podium, their teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, the defending series champion, finished 11th. Hunter-Reay started on the pole and led a total of 16 laps before he faded in the late stages to finish 11th.
Will Power's attempt for a fourth straight victory in Brazil came to an end in the early going when he experienced a gear shift issue. The engine in his No. 12 Team Penske car erupted into flames when it came to a stop on the course. He ended up finishing 24th in the 25-car field.
Power started 22nd after a disappointing qualifying session on Saturday, but he was moving through the field before his incident.
"I don't know what happened, and I had no real warning," Power said. "It's unfortunate, because we had such a good car. I was passing a car each lap."
Power had won the first three IndyCar races in Brazil from 2010-12. He has not been into victory circle since last year's event here.
His Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves, was involved in two separate incidents during the race and ended up finishing 13th. Castroneves, a Sao Paulo native, had led in points for the first three races, but dropped to third in the standings (-20). Hinchcliffe is 24 points behind Sato.
05/05 15:37:51 ET