Romain Grosjean led an Andretti Autosport one-two in the opening practice session of the 2022 NTT IndyCar series as the season got their year underway in St. Petersburg, Florida.
It only took 14 laps for the Frenchman to set a time of 1:01.053 to finish one-tenth in front of team-mate Colton Herta as one-second covered the top twenty-one drivers.
Devlin DeFrancesco set the early pace, becoming the first driver to dip below the 1 minute 2 second barrier, with a time of 1:01.826; The time would stand strong for some time before Kyle Kirkwood surpassed the Canadian.
Fresh from his 24 hours of Daytona victory, Helio Castroneves set a time of 1:01.608 until Grosjean and Herta hit the track, with the Frenchman leading the way. Herta would close the gap to 0.104 on his next lap while Graham Rahal and Jack Harvey moved in to fourth and sixth places, split by another Andretti car of Alexander Rossi.
Simon Pagenaud was starting to get in to the groove as he set the fourth fastest time in his first session with Meyer Shank, his run was curtailed as Jimmie Johnson overshot Turn 10 and ended up in the run-off area.
While the NASCAR champion managed to avoid the barriers, there was slight drama when his brakes caught fire as he was trying to get his car turned around the right way. As he pulled away from the run-off the session was red flagged, presumably with officials worrying about the fire on Johnsons car. The stoppage was short-lived as Johnson headed back to the pits.
With seven minutes of the session remaining there were a few late improvements as the session went green again, Rinus VeeKay moved up to ninth place which David Malukas rounded out the top-ten. Reigning champion Álex Palou had an uneventful session as he ended the day in seventeenth place.
Six rookies made their debut today, with the opening ten minutes of the session dominated by them. It was David Malukus who came out on top, finishing his first practice in an impressive tenth place. Kyle Kirkwood and Devlin DeFrancesco ended their run in twelfth and thirteenth places, while British driver Callum Ilott completed 23 laps to finish in twenty-second. Christian Lundgaard and Tatiana Calderón were the slowest drivers of the session in twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Practice 1 Results
|Pos||Car||Driver Name||Time||Speed||Diff||Best Lap||Total Laps|
|10||18||Malukas, David (R)||01:01.589||105.214||0.5364||22||22|
|12||14||Kirkwood, Kyle (R)||01:01.618||105.165||0.5652||22||22|
|13||29||DeFrancesco, Devlin (R)||01:01.663||105.087||0.6107||14||21|
|22||77||Ilott, Callum (R)||01:02.158||104.251||1.1053||21||23|
|25||30||Lundgaard, Christian (R)||01:02.525||103.639||1.4721||9||22|
|26||11||Calderon, Tatiana (R)||01:03.717||101.699||2.6648||22||22|