Schmidt Peterson Motorsports James Hinchcliffe in the No.5 Arrow Electronics Honda will start tomorrow’s Verizon IndyCar Series season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg from ninth place on the grid.
The race is the Canadian first event after fully recovering from the injuries he suffered during practice for last year’s Indianapolis 500. The mayor of Hinchtown has put that firmly behind him and was one of only four Honda powered cars to make into the top ten in qualifying for the race.
Speaking following the session, Hinchcliffe was feeling optimistic about a strong result on Sunday saying:
I think we can be happy with that, Certainly, only being a tenth out of the Fast Six and a tenth away from top Honda is tough, but from the imbalance we had this morning, the Arrow Electronics crew did a great job to tune it in for qualifying. It’s tough when you throw on those Firestone reds for the first time in ten months to try and figure out how much grip there is but like I said, it was a solid effort from everybody in the No. 5 car. I think we can race from ninth place. We’ve seen that these guys are as good as anybody at calling strategy so the goal is just to get through turn one and take the rest of the race from there.
Hinchcliffe’s team mate at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Mikhail Aleshin who makes his own come back to the Verizon IndyCar Series after a year will start the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in the No.7 SPM Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda from 18th place on the grid and speaking following the session, the Russian commented by saying:
It was a good day at the beginning and everything was going well, We didn’t put everything together for our red set of tires. It’s a bit of a shame because the No. 7 SMP Racing car had good speed in the last practice and I think it shows that we could be top ten. It’s going to be a long race so we’re just going to need to prepare for it, and it’s going to be good.