Long-form: Indy 500 champ Takuma Sato comes to Japan GP (VIDEO)

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In the first five minutes of Part 2 of the post-Japanese Grand Prix edition of Paddock Pass, NBCSN Formula 1 pit reporter and insider Will Buxton had the opportunity to catch up with Takuma Sato, who competed in F1 from 2002 to 2008 with BAR, Honda and Super Aguri.

Sato captured this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in a thrilling duel with Helio Castroneves, with Ed Jones and Max Chilton also figuring into the race’s outcome before Sato beat them all.

He also conducted the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, race winner Lewis Hamilton even trying on his Indianapolis 500 winner’s ring.

The ‘500 champion will have his likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy revealed next Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. But Sato reflected a bit on what he accomplished when chatting with Buxton.

“It’s an incredible moment in my life. Winning the Indy 500 is so special,” Sato told NBCSN.

“It was fun. It was good to see Fernando smiling every single day. Fernando coming on board was a significant moment.

“Five years ago it was so close. It didn’t happen in our favor, but I learned so much. Now this has been a dream come true.”

“I can’t thank the Andretti Autosport team enough, but now in 2018 I’ll be back home with Bobby Rahal. Working with Graham as a teammate will be incredible. We’ll have a new challenge and it’s a great challenge.”