McLaren Honda Andretti driver Fernando Alonso says that it is an amazing experience to be on the grid for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
The double Formula One world champion completed 110 laps and was up to speed extremely quickly as he completed the rookie orientation programme within his 50 laps of the running on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his first experience of competing on an oval.
Speaking about his first oval experience in the number 29 McLaren Honda Andretti car, Alonso commented by saying:
(My first time in an Indy car) was fun. I think it was a good way to start to get the speed. It was a little bit difficult at the beginning to reach the minimum, but then on the next stages [the car] felt good. But, yeah, now hopefully we can put some laps and start feeling a little bit of the car because at the moment the car is driving itself, I am not driving the car. I do feel more comfortable [going faster], not because of the speed, but because of the laps. You are already 30 laps in or 40 laps in, so you are able to fine tune and read the lines and up shift, down shift, learn which gear to use in which corner, etc. At the moment everything looks good but now we’ll start the real thing. The feeling of the simulator is quite realistic and you have the first touch – the first impression of how it is going to be, but then the real car is just a unique feeling so when you have to go flat out in the corners it’s not the same in the simulator that it is in the real car. So far, the car has been good; the team is amazingly helpful – everyone, Marco (Andretti) this morning, etc … Running alone I think it is quite okay, we’ll see later on in the next weeks.