Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Alex Palou has never raced at Portland International Raceway before, and despite bringing out a red flag, the young Spaniard managed to go fastest in practice ahead of the Grand Prix of Portland.
With thirty-eight minutes remaining, Palou ran too wide in turn twelve and spun in the dirt, coming to a stop just before the edge of the tyre barrier. He was very lucky to avoid damage and continue his run to the top.
Before the session began, it was announced that Ed Carpenter Racing‘s Rinus Veekay will be given a six-place grid penalty for an unapproved engine change this weekend that will be enforced after qualifying. Not the birthday gift the now twenty-one year old Dutchman.
With forty-four minutes remaining in the session, Max Chilton brought out the first red flag of the day after he spun in turn two. The Carlin driver used too much curb in the first corner and lost the back end as he came around turn two, stopping on track. He was not the only victim of the chicane, as Scott McLaughlin also used too much curb and went straight into the grass on the outside of turn two as he tried to return to the racing surface.
The one year break from the demanding Portland circuit caught out experienced veterans as well, as Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly were all reminded how unforgiving the curbs are with brief off-track excursions.
Two Honda drivers experienced engine issues throughout the session, as Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato were unable to run many laps in the session. Hunter-Reay reported issues accelerating through the gears and hitting the top of the rev range, while Sato reported an odd sound from the engine as well as vibrations and went behind the wall early. Sato’s team stated that they will perform a full engine change before qualifying.
With eleven minutes remaining McLaughlin got caught out again, this time locking up his right front tyre in the final corner and colliding with the barrier. His car was not damaged severely, but yet another growing pain for the Team Penske rookie as he continues to learn a track he’s never been to.The green flag was back out with seven minutes left, leading to a frantic scramble to get final runs in.
Behind Palou, Meyer Shank Racing finished the session in second and third as Helio Castroneves finished ahead of his teammate Jack Harvey. Harvey spent time at the top of the timing charts during the session and consistently ran in the top five, so the British driver will be hoping for a return to form like he was in at the beginning of the season.
Championship leader Patrio O’Ward finished the session in fourth, spending most of the day in the top five like Harvey ahead of him. Rounding out the top five was Josef Newgarden, putting three of the top points drivers among the fastest in the session.
Romain Grosjean, another rookie to PIR, adapted quickly to the new circuit finishing sixth ahead of the defending GP of Portland winner Will Power in seventh.
Andretti Autosport had two drivers finish in the top ten, with Rossi and Colton Herta finishing eigth and ninth respectively. Finishing out the top ten was Graham Rahal, who was consistently in the top ten all session.
Rahal’s teammate for the rest of the season Oliver Askew finished the session in sixteenth on his return to the IndyCar Series, while debuting rookie Callum Ilott finished twenty-fourth for Juncos Hollinger Racing.
Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Portland will begin at 1515 EST / 1215 PST / 2215 BST.
Grand Prix of Portland First Practice Results
|1||Alex Palou||10||ESP||Chip Ganassi Racing||00:58.782 sec.|
|2||Helio Castroneves||6||BRA||Meyer Shank Racing||00:58.885 sec.|
|3||Jack Harvey||60||GBR||Meyer Shank Racing||00:58.888 sec.|
|4||Pato O’Ward||5||MEX||Arrow McLaren SP||00:58.893 sec.|
|5||Josef Newgarden||2||USA||Team Penske||00:58.894 sec.|
|6||Romain Grosjean (R)||51||FRA||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing||00:58.905 sec.|
|7||Will Power||12||AUS||Team Penske||00:58.919 sec.|
|8||Alexander Rossi||27||USA||Andretti Autosport||00:58.932 sec.|
|9||Colton Herta||26||USA||Andretti Autosport||00:58.947 sec.|
|10||Graham Rahal||15||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||00:58.991 sec.|
|11||Scott Dixon||9||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||00:59.008 sec.|
|12||Scott McLaughlin (R)||3||NZL||Team Penske||00:59.066 sec.|
|13||Felix Rosenqvist||7||SWE||Arrow McLaren SP||00:59.109 sec.|
|14||Marcus Ericsson||8||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||00:59.118 sec.|
|15||Sebastien Bourdais||14||FRA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||00:59.291 sec.|
|16||Oliver Askew||45||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||00:59.298 sec.|
|17||Rinus VeeKay||21||NED||Ed Carpenter Racing||00:59.309 sec.|
|18||James Hinchcliffe||29||CAN||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||00:59.312 sec.|
|19||Ed Jones||18||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan||00:59.338 sec.|
|20||Jimmie Johnson (R)||48||USA||Chip Ganassi Racing||00:59.455 sec.|
|21||Conor Daly||20||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||00:59.536 sec.|
|22||Max Chilton||59||GBR||Carlin||00:59.584 sec.|
|23||Simon Pagenaud||22||FRA||Team Penske||00:59.680 sec.|
|24||Callum Ilott (R)||77||GBR||Juncos Hollinger Racing||00:59.917 sec.|
|25||Dalton Kellett||4||CAN||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||01:00.198 sec.|
|26||Ryan Hunter-Reay||28||USA||Andretti Autosport||01:00.269 sec.|
|27||Takuma Sato||30||JPN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||01:22.252 sec.|