Simon Pagenaud: “Overall it was a great day”

Simon Pagenaud felt it was a positive day for him and the #22 Team Penske crew after finishing in the runners-up position behind team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya around the streets of St Petersburg, the opening race of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Frenchman Pagenaud began the race from pole position, inheriting the position when Will Power withdrew due to illness, and led the early laps of the race before losing position to Montoya just after a mid-race yellow flag period caused when Marco Andretti spun while attempting to pass Luca Filippi.

Despite losing out on the win, Pagenaud was happy to start the season with a podium finish, feeling it was a vast improvement on what happened to him during the 2015 season.

“Overall it was a great day,” said Pagenaud. “If you compare to last year, it’s been a massive improvement on the whole 22 crew.

“I’m super proud to represent HPE in our first race and be here on the podium in second place, leading the race for a while.

“But, yeah, Montoya is an old dog. He found a little good trick on me. I made one tiny little mistake and it lost me the race.”