Will Power and Colton Herta have set the fastest times in the two practice sessions ahead of tomorrow’s NTT IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Indianapolis at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Power set the fastest time in practice one, with Herta setting the best time in final practice later in the day.
In the opening session of practice at Indianapolis, Will Power picked up where he left off twelve months ago. The Australian won last year’s road course race at Indianapolis from pole position and made a return to the top of the time-sheets this morning by taking the fastest time in first practice.
Power set his session-topping time right at the end of practice. A late red flag had threatened to interrupt running, but every driver was given the chance to complete one final flying lap before the session came to a close.
Power would set a 1:09.2890 in his #12 Penske Chevrolet, a lap-time that was six-tenths of a second faster than his pole position lap from last year. He will be hoping to remain out front for the rest of the weekend, including qualifying later today, where he will be aiming to take Penske’s fifth consecutive pole for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
The Penske #12 driver held a two-tenths of a second advantage over second-placed Spencer Pigot for Ed Carpenter Racing. Pigot and third-placed Scott Dixon set nigh-on identical lap-times, with the pair separated by less than three-hundredths of a second.
The next five drivers on the time-sheets were separated by just two-hundredths of a second. Chip Ganassi Racing‘s rookie Felix Rosenqvist was fifth fastest with a 1:09.5272, closely followed by Penske’s Josef Newgarden, Andretti Autosport‘s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Zach Veach, as well as the #22 Penske of Simon Pagenaud; who was eighth fastest with a 1:09.5482.
The times remained just as close through the rest of the top twelve drivers. Takuma Sato was ninth fastest for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, with tenth-placed Alexander Rossi, eleventh-placed James Hinchcliffe and twelfth-placed Jack Harvey all lapping within a tenth of Sato.
Further back, four of the five rookies in the field ended the session outside of the top twelve. COTA winner Colton Herta was fifteenth-fastest for Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Carlin‘s Patricio O’Ward – recently announced as a Red Bull Junior Team driver – was sixteenth-fastest. The Mexican was responsible for a red flag during the session after spinning.
Herta and O’Ward’s fellow rookie drivers, Marcus Ericsson and Santino Ferrucci, ended the session seventeenth and twenty-first respectively. Ferrucci was classified just ahead of two veterans, Marco Andretti and the returning Helio Castroneves, who took the twenty-second and twenty-third fastest laps of the session.
Twenty-three of the twenty-four drivers on the entry list lapped within one second of each other. Only A.J. Foyt Enterprises‘ Tony Kanaan lapped over a second slower than Penske’s Will Power.
2019 NTT IndyCar Series – Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Practice one top twelve results:
[table id=3833 /]
Full results of practice one can be found by clicking the following link: http://www.imscdn.com/indycar_media/documents/2019-05-10/05-10-19%20IGP%20P1%20results.pdf
In the second and final practice session for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the rookies stepped up a gear. Towards the end of the session, the field began to circulate on the alternate Firestone tyre compound. The lap-times soon tumbled, with Harding Steinbrenner’s Colton Herta setting a blistering time of 1:08.0393 to take the fastest time of the session.
Colton’s time was 1.2-seconds faster than Power’s best lap in the opening practice session; such was the improvement in lap-times due to the tyre compounds and the evolving racing surface.
Fellow rookie, Felix Rosenqvist, would set the second-fastest time of the session, lapping within two-tenths of a second of Herta. Both drivers will be hoping to replicate Robert Wickens‘ performance from twelve months ago, where he stood on the podium at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis as a rookie.
Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot was once again right at the sharp end of the order. He ended the session third-fastest and will be hoping that his strong practice pace translates into qualifying later today.
Fourth and fifth would go to Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon respectively, with both setting identical lap-times with a 1:08.2791. Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay were just behind in sixth and seventh, with Jack Harvey appearing inside the top twelve once again for Meyer Shank Racing in eighth place.
Two of the remaining three rookies also placed inside the top twelve. Marcus Ericsson was ninth-fastest for Arrow Schmidt Peterson, with Dale Coyne Racing‘s Santino Ferrucci just behind in eleventh place. Between them was Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa‘s Ed Jones in tenth place. Andretti’s Alexander Rossi completed the top twelve.
Further back, all four Penske Chevrolet drivers were outside of the top twelve. Josef Newgarden was fourteenth fastest ahead of his two full-time team-mates, fifteenth-placed Simon Pagenaud and sixteenth-placed Will Power. Meanwhile, the returning Helio Castroneves was further back in twenty-second place. It is highly likely that the Penske quartet will be much faster in qualifying later today.
The lap-times were once again close between much of the field. Twenty-two of the twenty-four drivers were within eight-tenths of eachother, with only Tony Kanaan and Patricio O’Ward lapping slower. Both Kanaan and O’Ward will be hoping for a much better showing during the rest of the event.
Qualifying will take place in just a few hours from now. Will Power will be heading into the session hoping to take his fourth Grand Prix of Indianapolis pole position and his third in succession. The race itself will take place tomorrow.
2019 NTT IndyCar Series – Grand Prix of Indianapolis – Practice two top twelve results:
[table id=3835 /]
Full results of practice two can be found by clicking the following link: http://www.imscdn.com/INDYCAR/Documents/5533/2019-05-10/indycar-results-p2.pdf