Sebastien Bourdais was unsure to what happened early in qualifying around the streets of St. Petersburg as he crashed out at turn thirteen without setting a time.
The Dale Coyne Racing driver’s incident with the tyre barrier brought out the red flags, and it means the Frenchman will start the race from the back of the field in twenty-first position despite having been inside the top ten for much of the weekend during practice.
Bourdais was unclear to the reasons why his brakes locked up and propelled him into the barriers, but he now will have to fight through the field on Sunday.
“I have no idea what happened, everything felt fine in Turn 10,” said Bourdais. “I got on the brakes and got to the last corner and nothing happened. I locked up the inside front and never really slowed down properly. It never happened before.
“I’ve been very happy with the braking, we’ve just had some overheating issues but that has nothing to do with that. I guess I thought the brakes were in. Maybe I took it too easy around the start of the first lap and by the time I got to start the fast lap the rears were not up and I didn’t get any slowing down from the rears and locked up the front and that was that.”
Team-mate Ed Jones, the only debutant in the field, admitted frustration that he was caught up by the red flags as it meant he lost the best out that set of tyres, but the difference between the two different compounds of tyre, especially when it comes to braking and stopping distances.
“It was a little frustrating that the red flag came out early on,” said Jones. “I didn’t get to have a first go at the Firestone reds so I had to go straight out again on a new set and push from there. For me it was a bit of an unknown how the jump was going to be.
“The car felt really good and I felt like I was finally there. I felt a lot more comfortable in the car. The difference with the reds it that I just didn’t have time to adapt. By the time I realized how much deeper I could go, the tyres had already started falling off of their best. At least I know for next time.
“I was really excited to do my first Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying. I just felt at home, so that’s the most important thing. Overall, I’m happy with how it went.”