SONOMA, Calif. – “Nobody said it was easy. / It’s such a shame for us to part.”
“Nobody said it was easy / No one ever said it would be this hard.”
The second part of that first lyric from Coldplay’s “The Scientist” might be an apt term for the communal loss shared by the IndyCar community following Justin Wilson’s passing.
The first part probably describes the effort done by the Andretti Autosport crew to even prepare the No. 25 Honda for this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway, and for the Wilson family in partnership with the team and Honda to make a decision to have Oriol Servia on board.
Sunday at Sonoma, race day, when Wilson was remembered pre-race before all 25 cars had their engines fired, was the final line in the lyric mentioned above.
Servia shared several interviews throughout the weekend with NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis (see qualifying interview here) and the interviews, and emotions, continued on Sunday morning.
See several Wilson-related videos below, including an interview with Wilson’s younger brother Stefan and a moment of silence pre-race (Robin Miller’s touching tribute is linked separately, here).
Once the tough portion of the day was over, focus turned to the race itself and how Servia would progress forward from 19th place on the grid.
Servia – who struggled through the early part of the weekend in his first IndyCar road race since the May 2014 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, then driving with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – got better and better as the weekend went on.
In the race itself, he got up as high as third and was well-positioned on a similar strategy as Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti and past Andretti driver Sebastian Saavedra, who did well on the day for Chip Ganassi Racing.
A late caution scuppered their strategy and resigned them to midpack, but all told Servia was pleased to come away with 12th – split directly between Andretti in 11th and Saavedra in 13th.
“It was actually great. I had a great time from the beginning,” Servia told Beekhuis post-race. “Friday I was struggling to even stay in the seat. Yesterday I made big improvements.
“Today every lap I got better, remember how to drive these machines. I was fighting with (Ryan) Briscoe (who ultimately finished fifth, one spot ahead of Montoya). I thought we had a better car than him. The last yellow didn’t work for me and everyone on my strategy and we got sent to the back. I thought we would have been top five. I hope Justin was proud of what we did.
“The most important thing, I had fun. He wanted me to have fun.”
Asked whether he felt he made a difference in helping the family, the team and the community moved forward, Servia said this weekend was a necessary first step.
“For sure, the adrenaline of the race kept me strong. There’s nothing that is gonna help us not fill the void of Justin not being here.
“But as I said at the bginning, we remember him, and inspire us to be a little better humans, like he was.”