There are good and bad rivalries, some, shall we say, more ‘sporting’ than others. Racing Scott Dixon for championships was tough but there was a lot of respect. My rivalry with Will Power was intense, more like a feud.
In Champ Car he’d been unbelievably fast over one lap, and then he went to Penske and it was clear he was going to be a handful; he was going to join the party at the front. He was so outspoken, wore his heart on his sleeve, no subtlety, which brought him to my attention and allowed me to play some mind games – the first time in my career I’d ever got into that.
It just happened that way. When we battled for the IndyCar championship in 2011 [following Dario’s defeat of Power in 2010], that’s when the rivalry got really serious. Just a barbed comment about him would get to him, get him overheated. In the car and out of the car I would not show any emotion, any anger, no reaction, and that infuriated Will even more. In 2011, from the first lap of the first race, we had wheelto-wheel contact, both of us going for the same piece of track, both of us thinking we were in the right. At St Petersburg I passed him around the outside of turn one, took the inside for turn two and we touched; that set the tone for the season.