Arrow McLaren SP‘s Patricio O’Ward claimed his second career NTT IndyCar Series pole position, setting the tone for the team ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.
The first group of Q1 saw Chip Ganassi Racing newcomer Alex Palou top the session, with the first lap time under 1:06.000. Joining him was Will Power as the only other driver to drop into that time for that session. On his final lap of the 10-minute session, rookie Scott McLaughlin managed to bump out Ed Jones and make his way into Q2. Fellow rookie Jimmie Johnson was also able to finally keep himself off of the bottom of the timing charts, finishing eleventh in the group and starting twenty-first for tomorrow’s race.
The second group of Q1 was filled with chaos, as with just under 8 minutes left in the session, James Hinchcliffe locked up his tyres and went nose-first into the barriers in turn 5. The session would resume with roughly 4 minutes to go, and O’Ward claimed the top spot, making an incredible save as he crossed the line. O’Ward’s teammate, Felix Rosenqvist, continued his bad luck from Practice 1 as he spun in turn 17 with under one minute left, bringing out a session ending red flag. Per IndyCar’s rules, Rosenqvist’s lap time was invalidated for causing a red flag, which allowed Colton Herta to make it through to the next round.
Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing driver Romain Grosjean impressed many by going second fastest in that session, and his pace continued into Q2. The 35-year-old rookie was near the top of the scoring charts all session long, before a flurry of fast lap times knocked him out of the Firestone Fast Six, with Power dealing the final blow. Josef Newgarden was another shocking elimination in this session, as the three time winner at Barber finished eighth in the session behind Grosjean.
The 6-minute Q3 session was relatively quiet until about two minutes to go, with O’Ward putting together a spectacular lap to take his first pole since the second race of the 2020 REV Group Grand Prix doubleheader. Andretti Autosport‘s Alexander Rossi joins him on the front row, carrying his momentum from being fastest in Practice 2 to a front row starting spot. Palou will start third on Sunday, continuing his quick start to the season with Ganassi alongside Power, who will start fourth.
Row three of the starting grid will be all Ganassi, as Scott Dixon finished the session in fifth place and Marcus Ericsson finished sixth in a very strong run for the 30-year-old Swede so far this weekend.
Drivers knocked out in Q1 will make up the back of the grid, with drivers who were knocked out in the first group making up the odd-numbered positions and the drivers in the second group making up the even-numbered positions.
The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will take place tomorrow at 1500 EST / 2000 BST. Coverage will be provided by Sky Sports F1 in the UK and NBC in the US.
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Qualifying Results
|1||5||Pato O’Ward||MEX||Arrow McLaren SP||01:05.8479|
|2||27||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Autosport||01:05.9177|
|3||10||Alex Palou||ESP||Chip Ganassi Racing||01:06.0538|
|4||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||01:06.1186|
|5||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||01:06.3976|
|6||8||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||01:06.4102|
|7||51||Romain Grosjean (R)||SUI||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing||01:05.7643|
|8||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||01:05.7902|
|9||26||Colton Herta||USA||Andretti Autosport||01:05.7957|
|10||20||Conor Daly||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||01:05.9118|
|11||60||Jack Harvey||ENG||Meyer Shank Racing||01:05.9634|
|12||3||Scott McLaughlin (R)||NZL||Team Penske||01:06.7226|
|13||18||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan||01:06.5578|
|14||21||Rinus VeeKay||NED||Ed Carpenter Racing||01:06.4770|
|15||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||01:06.6480|
|16||14||Sebastien Bourdais||FRA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||01:06.5035|
|17||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||01:06.8512|
|18||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||01:06.8489|
|19||30||Takuma Sato||JPN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||01:07.1026|
|21||48||Jimmie Johnson (R)||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||01:07.7092|
|22||7||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Arrow McLaren SP||01:07.0254*|
|23||4||Dalton Kellett||CAN||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||01:07.8100|
|24||29||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||No Time|