By: Ashley McCubbin
Following a win and a fifth on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, Linus Lindqvist sits second in the Indy Lights Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, just nine points behind his HMD Motorsports teammate David Malukas for the lead.
So what is it like racing his teammate for the title? Those are among the topics he covered when speaking with NEWS FROM THE PITS recently.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts when looking back at Indianapolis?
LINUS LUNDQVIST: I think, from my point of view, it was a story of two tales. Obviously the Friday was a very good day for us in getting the pole position and the race win. The second day was a bit of different in that we managed second in qualifying, and P5 in the race. But that’s how it goes sometimes. I think we showed that we have really good pace with us winning the first race, and David winning the second one, which is also very positive and I think we’ve shown that at Barber, St. Pete, and how at Indy that we have the pace. I think we have the ability to be the team to beat so far.
ASHLEY: It seems David Malukas and you are trading wins back and forth – while being teammates. So how do you balance racing each other hard for wins, but also the teammate dynamic?
LINUS: Like you said, it’s a bit of a funny balance. It’s different having your teammate as your biggest rival for the championship, but also a guy that you want to work together with because you, as a team, want to beat the other teams. I think we’ve found a really good balance and one of the key factors is why we are quick because David and I are able to push to each other, push the team forward, and make everything as nice as possible.
I think we’re going to see some close racing on track as well, but Indianapolis showed whoever is quicker in the day will get the pole and the win. I think it’ll be close as the season goes.
ASHLEY: How would you rate your season so far?
LINUS: I would give it a 7/10 – something like that. I think the positive things is that we’ve showed when we put everything together, we are right up there to fight for pole positions and the wins. I think the focus is minimizing mistakes and the lows are not too low.
But considering I am a rookie and this is my first year doing Indy Lights, I know mistakes are going to happen in my first season so I’m trying to take it in stride and trying to minimize the mistakes moving forward and learn as much as I can to be as strong as I can through the season.
ASHLEY: You mentioned minimizing mistakes, but what else do you feel you need to improve on behind the wheel?
LINUS: You want to be faster. Really, that’s the main focus. Obviously, to keep working on the car and set-up in maximizing the package, but also working on yourself as you can always improve. It’s just about how much you can improve and how fast you can improve techniques or areas to improve on.
Obviously, that will be the key focus moving forward – minimizing mistakes, but keep pushing ahead to go quicker and quicker, because our competitors – as we saw especially in race two at Indianapolis, they’re not far behind in that way. It’s always going to be very, very close. Whoever finds that extra tenth or two will make a difference.
ASHLEY: What track are you most excited for this year?
LINUS: I think I am very much looking forward to Road America because it’s one of the tracks that I’ve heard a lot of drivers speak really good about, so I’m excited about that. I’m also excited to head to Detroit because I love street circuits so it’ll be cool to be back at one of those, and as far as I know, nobody has really run that track in a few years on the Road to Indy schedule. So it’ll be a clean slate for everybody in the paddock, which is kind of nice from my point of view because I’ve only been to two of the 10 tracks we’re going to.
ASHLEY: How did you get started in racing?
LINUS: I started racing 16 years ago so a long time now, but I actually almost got introduced to it by accident. I am the first person to be interested in racing in my family, but I always took an interest to cars when I was younger. By accident, I got to try go-karts and absolutely loved it.
I had the love and support of my family so they bought me my first go-kart when I was seven years old and we put it in the back of the car and off we went to my first race in Sweden, not knowing anything in what is qualifying, racing, and practice. So it was very much learning as I went from there on but it was quite fun looking back at it. It was quite a journey to get here.
ASHLEY: Who is your racing hero?
LINUS: I don’t know if I’ve had one specific racing hero, but I have one that I’ve looked up to quite a long time and I think you guys know him quite well in Felix Rosenqvist. Obviously now that he’s in America racing in IndyCar and being so close, and obviously being a Swede we’ve met and talked a fair bit so it’s pretty cool. But my first year in single-seater, he just won the European F3 Championship in 2015, and that was a big deal. From that point on, he was the guy that I looked up to and tried to be like.
ASHLEY: Obviously being on the Road to Indy, what would it mean to you to reach IndyCar and race alongside Felix one day?
LINUS: It would mean everything. I think for all drivers, to reach that kind of level, it’s really very cool to think about that it’s even within maybe a potential shot of being there, but it’s also the target for all of us. At the end of the day, we’re going to do this more than one or two years; we want to be here for a long time and make sure we can have a proper career and make a living. One of the best places to do that is in IndyCar and if that means that I’m going against Felix and all the other likes in IndyCar, then I’m ready for the challenge.
ASHLEY: We know you’re going up the Road to Indy to run IndyCar one day, but is there anything else you’d love to get behind the wheel of?
LINUS: I’ve done one Endurance race – I did the Rolex 24 Hours in 2019; that was my first and only experience in an endurance race, but obviously I’d love to do that again but I’d also love to go to LeMan or do the 12 Hours of Sebring. Something like that would be cool to do, whether a GTD car or prototype – just the competition of racing against people for so long.