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
|1||27||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Autosport||1:03.7559|
|2||10||Tony Kanaan||BRZ||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:03.8450|
|3||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:03.8798|
|4||5||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1:04.1506|
|5||1||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||1:04.2131|
|6||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||1:04.3190|
|7||3||Helio Castroneves||BRZ||Team Penske||1:04.3488|
|8||83||Charlie Kimball||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:04.4071|
|9||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||1:04.4118|
|10||8||Max Chilton||GBR||Chip Ganassi Racing||1:04.5379|
|11||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||1:04.5513|
|12||98||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Herta Autosport||1:04.6270|
|13||18||Sebastien Bourdais||FRA||Dale Coyne Racing||1:04.6900|
|14||20||Spencer Pigot||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||1:04.8290|
|15||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||1:04.8500|
|16||26||Takuma Sato||JAP||Andretti Autosport||1:04.8536|
|17||7||Mikhail Aleshin||RUS||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||1:04.9605|
|18||19||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing||1:05.2213|
|19||14||Carlos Munoz||COL||AJ Foyt Enterprises||1:05.4289|
|20||21||JR Hildebrand||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||1:05.5797|
|21||4||Conor Daly||USA||AJ Foyt Enterprises||1:05.5928|