Dixon on top again as St. Petersburg pace quickens

Scott Dixon was quickest in final practice at St. Pete - Credit: James Boone

Scott Dixon continued to set the pace in final practice for the opening race of the season around the streets of St. Petersburg, with the track continuing to quicken ahead of qualifying.

The New Zealander following up his pace setting time in Friday’s second practice session with a lap of 1:01.6240 for Chip Ganassi Racing, with nineteen of the twenty-one drivers in the field going faster than Dixon had managed yesterday.

James Hinchcliffe was second fastest for Schmidt Peterson Motorsport, confirming that Honda, who struggled for performance for most of 2016, have improved their package for 2017. In fact the top six in the session were Honda powered, with Alexander Rossi third fastest for Andretti Herta Autosport.

Max Chilton had his best session of the weekend so far to place fourth for Chip Ganassi’s outfit, ahead of Sebastien Bourdais of Dale Coyne Racing and Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport, while the leading Chevrolet-powered entry was that of Josef Newgarden of Team Penske in seventh.

Ryan Hunter-Reay was eighth fastest for Andretti Autosport ahead of series veteran Tony Kanaan of Chip Ganassi Racing, with the Brazilian entering his twentieth season of IndyCar racing in 2017.

Completing the top ten was Team Penske’s Will Power, who finished just ahead of team-mate and current IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud, with Charlie Kimball twelfth.

Streets of St. Petersburg Free Practice 3 Result

19Scott DixonNZLChip Ganassi Racing1:01.6240
25James HinchcliffeCANSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:01.6660
398Alexander RossiUSAAndretti Herta Autosport1:01.7015
48Max ChiltonGBRChip Ganassi Racing1:01.7477
518Sebastien BourdaisFRADale Coyne Racing1:01.7634
627Marco AndrettiUSAAndretti Autosport1:01.8085
72Josef NewgardenUSATeam Penske1:01.8229
828Ryan Hunter-ReayUSAAndretti Autosport1:01.8550
910Tony KanaanBRZChip Ganassi Racing1:01.8562
1012Will PowerAUSTeam Penske1:01.9166
111Simon PagenaudFRATeam Penske1:02.0310
1283Charlie KimballUSAChip Ganassi Racing1:02.0345
1315Graham RahalUSARahal Letterman Lanigan Racing1:02.0793
1414Carlos MunozCOLAJ Foyt Enterprises1:02.3289
153Helio CastronevesBRZTeam Penske1:02.3314
1621JR HildebrandUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:02.4174
1726Takuma SatoJAPAndretti Autosport1:02.4205
1820Spencer PigotUSAEd Carpenter Racing1:02.4207
1919Ed JonesUAEDale Coyne Racing1:02.4928
207Mikhail AleshinRUSSchmidt Peterson Motorsports1:02.5968
214Conor DalyUSAAJ Foyt Enterprises1:02.7788