Ryan Hunter Reay in the No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda had a great start to his 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series campaign at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg. The 2012 IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indy 500 champion started Sunday’s race from fifth place and ended the day on the podium in third place behind race winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud.
Speaking following the race, Hunter Reay commented by saying:
It was a good finish to the race, we were able to get back up to the podium and it was tough. There were a couple instances where the whole field could have been taken out, but I was able to get back and get under it just in the nick of time. It was a very good drive, the DHL car was very good and the guys did a great job in the pits, so we did everything we could today from fifth. We got a little held up in the middle of the race and that kind of left us in a big gap, but it was a good day all-in-all. I’ll absolutely take starting the year out with a podium at my home race.
Alexander Rossi. making his Verizon IndyCar Series race debut on Sunday in the No.98 Castrol Edge Andretti Herta Autosport Curb Honda started the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg from 18th place on the grid and was running as high as fifth place during the event before eventually ending the race in 13th place.
Speaking following the race, Rossi commented by saying:
That was probably one of the more challenging days I’ve had in a race car in quite some time. We just didn’t have the car underneath us today for whatever reason it was quite tricky out there. I think we made the most of what we could, we stayed out of trouble and obviously the finishing position doesn’t look that bad, but considering we were almost a lap down from our teammate is a bit of an issue. We need to really look at things in the next couple weeks. It’s another set of circumstances coming up in Phoenix, but we really need to understand this with Long Beach going forward.
While Hunter Reay and Rossi had a good day the other Andretti Autosport pairing of Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz had a tough day at the office.
Andretti in the No.27 Snapple Honda started the race from 14th place but made a great start making his way up to 7th place before spinning at Turn 1 before suffering a mechanical issue that caused the car to stall meaning that Andretti lost track position. The team checked the car and he ended the race in 15th place.
Speaking following the race, Andretti commented by saying:
The Snapple Honda was strong and we were really making progress early on, but it was my mistake. I wanted the win too bad and was impatient – I hurt what was a good car. Disappointed, for sure but will look ahead to Phoenix.
Carlos Munoz in the No.26 Andretti Autosport Honda started the race from 12th place but was handed a stop and go penalty for avoidable contact with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal.
Munoz recovered from this however and ended the day in eighth place giving Michael Andretti two cars in the top ten.
Speaking following the race, Munoz commented by saying:
We were looking good, but then the yellow flag came out and didn’t help us any. I ended up making a mistake trying to overtake (Charlie) Kimball, so we ended up crashing because of my move. It’s racing and I apologize to all of those who were involved in that incident. We ended up getting back into the race and we finished strong in the eighth position, not the result we were looking for, but we have to take all the possible points we can get this early on.