Days after his IndyCar debut was announced, Christian Lundgaard qualified a remarkable fourth for his series debut at Indianapolis. But which Formula One team does the Dane have links to and which championship is he already a race winner in?
Fourth at Indy on debut
The race weekend at Indianapolis for the road course race is Lundgaard’s first time competing in an IndyCar event.
The Danish driver previously tested last month for Rahal Letterman Laningan Racing at Barber.
It is part of a process as the team continues to evaluate potential drivers for a third entry.
Turning up at IMS, Lundgaard, in the #45 machine Lundgaard was seventh in the sole practice session, 0.257s off the pace.
Come qualifying, he finished his group in second, just 0.064s behind 2016 Indy 500 winner, Alexander Rossi.
In the pole position shootout, the top five cars were separated by less than 0.1s around the 2.4-mile 14 turn course.
Lundgaard was able to grab fourth on the grid, finishing 0.028s behind pole-sitter Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren SP.
Penske’s Will Power narrowly missed out on pole by 0.006s, whilst ex-Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean pipped Lundgaard by just 0.001s.
He joked after the session that the grid spot would give his family a “heart-attack,” when they woke and saw the result.
F1 junior programme
Lundgaard has been on the books of the Renault F1 young driver academy since 2017.
The now 20-year-old was kept on the books when the F1 team was rebranded to Alpine ahead of the new season.
He has moved up through the ranks, after finishing runner-up in the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup – a junior single-seater championship in Europe.
After a year in FIA Formula 3, he moved up to FIA F2 for 2020.
In the second race weekend, he secured his first win in the reversed grid sprint race at the Red Bull Ring.
Five further podiums and another win at Mugello in Italy secured him seventh place in the standings, as Mick Schumacher won the title.
Despite expecting to be in title contention in his sophomore F2 year, Lundgaard only has two podiums to his name.
Coupled to the inconsistent form in F2, Lundgaard has also found his chances of promotion to F1 limited.
Alpine recently signed Esteban Ocon to a long-term deal, and the other seat is occupied by Fernando Alonso.
The two-time F1 champion returned to fight for a third world crown in the new F1 ruleset for 2022.
Alpine is also the only F1 team not to have links with any other.
Teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all have junior squads to place young drivers for their F1 debuts.
It is how potential Mercedes driver George Russell got his chance on the grid with Williams.
This means that it is hard for Alpine to place its academy drivers.
It is why Lundgaard has looked across to America and IndyCar.