Team Penske kicked off their 2016 Verizon IndyCar season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in style by topping the time sheets in both this morning’s and this afternoon’s practice sessions.
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Hewlett Packard Enterprises Chevrolet ended the morning session as the fastest of all with a time of 1.01.7246s while in the second session the Frenchman ended the day in fourth place. Speaking following his opening day he stated:
So far it’s been a good start to the weekend. I am super proud to represent HP Enterprise. They are new to the team and they’re here this weekend and I’m so excited to race for them here in St. Pete. On the racetrack, we’ve really just been trying to keep up with the changing conditions. It’s not easy but we’ll keep working at it and see how we do in qualifying tomorrow.
Will Power had a difficult start to his morning in the No.12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet as he was forced to end his session early after hitting the wall causing serious damage to his car however fortunately he was uninjured and the team were able to get him back out for the second session this afternoon where he promptly but the accident behind him topping the time sheets.
Speaking following the opening day of action, the Australian stated:
The No. 12 Verizon Chevy definitely had a bad start with the accident this morning, but full credit to the Team Penske guys to get the car back out there, so I could get some laps and get my head around the track and so on. It was a good session. Ran in circles with the setup. Finished P1, pretty happy.
Last year’s race winner, Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet ended his day with the combined 10th fastest time of the day and speaking following the action on track he commented by saying:
Overall it was a pretty good first day. I’m pretty happy that we were able to get in a lot of running with the Verizon Chevy and we worked on a lot of things. I had too much understeer in the car but we will work on that and make it better for qualifying tomorrow.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet ended his day with the combined 9th fastest time of the day and speaking following the action he commented by saying:
The No. 3 Hitachi Chevy ran strong this morning. We decided to go a different direction in the afternoon and we learned a lot of things. We ran over something on track in the afternoon session but there wasn’t any damage to the car. The Hitachi boys will keep working on it and we’re looking forward to Saturday when we can improve even more.