Andretti on top in opening St Petersburg practice

Marco Andretti was fastest in the first practice session of 2017 - Credit: Joe Skibinski / IndyCar

Marco Andretti took the honours in the opening free practice session of the Verizon IndyCar Series season by setting the fastest time around the resurfaced and slightly re-profiled St. Petersburg street circuit.

The track has seen turn three reconfigured after incidents during support races on Thursday, with the turn slowed down as a result, meaning times were slower than they were in 2016, but Andretti set the best time of 1:03.7559 for Andretti Autosport.

Honda power locked out the top four places, with Chip Ganassi Racing duo Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon finishing second and third, setting times of 1:03.8450 and 1:03.8798 respectively, while James Hinchcliffe was fourth fastest for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was the leading Team Penske and Chevrolet driver in fifth, with the Frenchman setting a best time of 1:04.2131, 0.4572 seconds down on Andretti’s pace out front.

Graham Rahal was sixth fastest for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing ahead of Penske’s Helio Castroneves, with Charlie Kimball, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Max Chilton rounding out the top ten.

The session wasn’t without incident, with former champion Will Power hitting the wall early in the session to bring out a red flag. The Australian, twice a winner around the streets of St Petersburg, hit the wall at turn ten. He was able to recover to the pits, and his Penske mechanics worked fast to enable him to return to the track to finish eleventh fastest, just ahead of Alexander Rossi.

Streets of St. Petersburg Free Practice 1 Result

127Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:03.7559
210Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:03.8450
39Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:03.8798
45James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:04.1506
51Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:04.2131
615Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:04.3190
73Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:04.3488
883Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:04.4071
928Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:04.4118
108Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:04.5379
1112Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:04.5513
1298Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:04.6270
1318Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne Racing1:04.6900
1420Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:04.8290
152Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske1:04.8500
1626Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport1:04.8536
177Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:04.9605
1819Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing1:05.2213
1914Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises1:05.4289
2021JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:05.5797
214Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises1:05.5928