Takuma Sato's Most Memorable Moments Before His Indy 500 Win
Let's look back at the highlights of Takumo Sato's career.
Takuma Sato won the Indy 500 on Sunday. It was a crazy race, where just being running at the end was almost more important than pure speed. But Sato had one of the fastest cars, and he survived all the carnage throughout the race to win.
Before IndyCar, Sato was in Formula One from 2002 to 2008. He has never done exceptionally well in either series, but has always been a fan favorite. He's probably crashed more than other drivers who get bad reputations and fun nicknames for doing so. With Sato, when he's crashed, it was usually a result of a heroic, all-or-nothing drive, which is why many folks love him. Everyone loves an underdog.
Here is a small collection of some of Sato's most memorable moments from both his IndyCar and Formula One career.
In 2004, Sato drove for the BAR Honda Formula One team. He qualified 8th, with a time that was not far off of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso's times...though his engine failed him in the race. Here he is, tearing it up around the tight streets of Monaco in a V-10 powered F1 car. You also get Schumacher and Alonso in this as well. Turn up the volume for this one.
At the Australian Grand Prix in 2005, Sato and Schumacher both qualified towards the back of the grid due to rain and Sato crashing. During the race, Sato was finding space to just blow by some cars, though he would ultimately finish a lap down. Here he is passing Schumacher like it's no big deal.
Driving now for Super Aguri, Sato pulled off an amazing drive to finish 6th in a Canadian Grand Prix. In the closing laps, he passed Ralf Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. His pass on Alonso is now legendary in Formula One, as Super Aguri were punching well above their weight in this race.
This is on-board of Sato hunting down Alonso for the pass.
Long Beach 2013
After having been in IndyCar since 2010, Sato took his first win at Long Beach in 2013. Until now, it was his only IndyCar win.
Indy 500 2012
The 2012 Indy 500 was Sato's for the taking. He was going wheel-to-wheel with Dario Franchitti as the final lap started. Sato went down low in turn one for the pass. He lost the car and hit the wall. When he was asked yesterday after winning the 2017 Indy 500 if he learned anything from the 2012 crash, he said "This time, pointing the right direction in turn one." That response? That's exactly why he's a fan favorite.