James Hinchcliffe: “The consistency was there”

James Hinchcliffe - Credit: Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

James Hinchcliffe had nothing but praise for his Schmidt Peterson Motorsport team after ending up fastest on the first day of qualifying for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday.

The popular Canadian required two efforts to make it into Sunday’s top nine shoot-out for pole position, and admitted it was his own mistakes that prevented him making it through on his first attempt, but he came back on track and set the fastest four-lap average speed of the session of 230.946mph.

Hinchcliffe ultimately knows that Saturday’s laps count for nothing on Sunday, but he is happy to be in a position to be able to fight for pole position at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It was pretty good. I mean it was really good. What am I talking about? Huge credit to the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport guys,” said Hinchcliffe. “They’ve worked so hard on these race cars since back in February.

“We’ve got three quick ones. I mean, the No. 77 and the No. 7 were quick as well. After our first run, we didn’t quite maximize. I made some mistakes on my shifting pattern. I was kind of mad at myself about that. Kind of got in my own head a little bit.

“We made some changes. We knew everybody was going to go out again and try and improve, and we made a couple changes to the car, because, I mean, the Arrow Electronics car was not only fast but it held on for all four laps. The consistency was there. That was a big key today.

“It doesn’t mean much today; it’s bragging rights. It’s pay for the boys, because it validates all the effort they put into this racecar. It gets us in the Fast Nine, obviously, which was what the big point today was and hopefully we can go out there tomorrow and do something similar.”