Team Penske Chevrolet’s Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Hewlett Packard entry set the fastest time this morning as the Verizon IndyCar Series season got underway at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
The Frenchman set a fastest time of 1.01.7246s completing 18 laps and ending up just ahead of the AJ Foyt Raving Honda machine of Jack Hawksworth while Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet was third fastest just ahead of Takuma Sato in the No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda.
Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda was fifth fastest completing 14 laps with a fastest time of 1.01.8734s.
Reigning Series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Team Chevrolet ended the morning in sixth place with the New Zealander completing 17 laps with a fastest time of 1.01.9967s ending up just ahead of his Ganassi team mate, Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT Data Chevrolet.
Juan Pablo Montoya was eighth fastest in the No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet completing 12 laps with a fastest time of 1.02.0964s and ending the session just ahead of Charlie Kimball. Carlos Munoz rounded out the top ten for Andretti Autosport.
After staying on pit road until midway through the session, Marco Andretti in the No.27 Snapple Honda emerged and ended the session in 11th place completing 14 laps.
Sebastien Bourdais was 12th fastest in the No.11 Team Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrelot. The Frenchman completed 18 laps with a fastest time of 1.02.1621s ending the session just ahead of Jame Hinchcliffe who returns to racing for the first time since practice for the Indianapolis 500 in May where he suffered his big crash that ruled him out for the season.
The Canadian ended the session just ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing’s Josef Newgarden while Graham Rahal in the No.15 Steak N’Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda was 15th fastest completing 17 laps with a fastest time of 1.02.5695s.
Will Power ended his session early following heavy contact with the wheel. The Australian was unhurt and ended the morning in 16th place just ahead of Luca Filippi.
IndyCar Series rookie Alexander Rossi driving the No.98 Andretti Herta Autosport machine was 18th fastest following a brush with the wall which required his mechanics to check the car. The American driver completed 21 laps and ended up just ahead of fellow rookie, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Spencer Pigot.
Conor Daly was 20th fastest for Dale Coyne Racing completing 26 laps and ending up just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Mikhail Aleshin.
Rounding out the times was the No.8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Team Chevrolet of Max Chilton who is taking part in first Verizon IndyCar Series event this weekend. The Englishman completed 33 laps, the most of any driver with a fastest time of 1.03.3808s