Indy 500 is one of the jewels of motor sport
The Spaniard has abandoned his McLaren-Honda F1 team for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix after five dire races so far in 2017, with just two finishes and no top 10s.
Instead, he has travelled to Indianapolis to race a McLaren-entered, Honda-powered Andretti Autosport car in the Indy 500, one of motor sport’s most famous races.
So here’s everything you need to know about the race if you’ve never watched it before.
How fast do Indy 500 cars go?
Qualifying, which is held the week before the race, sees cars set an average speed over four laps of the track.
Indy 500 prize money over the last decade Thu, May 25, 2017
Express Sport takes a look at the Indy 500 prize money from the last decade
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2016 – Alexander Rossi won $2.548m out of $13.273m
This year’s pole position, set by New Zealand’s Scott Dixon, was claimed by a speed of 232.164 miles per hour.
However, the average speed during the race is significantly lower.
The 2016 winner Alexander Rossi recorded an average speed of 166.634 mph with pit-stops (around eight per driver) and yellow warning flags accounting for the majority of the slower speeds.
Fernando Alonso will have race for an extra hour at Indy 500
How long is the Indy 500?
The race takes its name from the 500-mile distance over which it is raced.
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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval is exactly 2.5 miles long, meaning the drivers go round exactly 200 times.
How long does the Indy 500 last?
Rossi’s finishing time in 2016 was just two minutes over the three-hour mark.
With the race scheduled to get underway at 12.19pm local time (5.19pm BST), UK viewers can expect to see the winner take the chequered flag just after 8pm.
How many points do you get for winning Indy 500?
The Indy 500 is the sixth race of the IndyCar Series 17-race season and is unique in that drivers get points for qualification.
The race itself also sees drivers awarded double points compared to the regular events – the winner would usually receive 50 but at Indy 500 gets 100 points.