Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet’s Will Power in the No.12 took home the first P1 Award of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Saturday. The 2014 series champion continued his form of ending session on top by setting the fastest time in the Firestone fast six competition.
The Australian who is battling a stomach virus this weekend secured his fifth St Petersburg P1 Award and in doing so broke the track record setting a 1m 00.6509s.
Speaking after taking the P1 Award, Will Power commented by saying:
What a great run today for the Verizon Chevy team. It’s an awesome feeling to be able to put the new look Verizon car on pole again here at St. Pete. Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling pretty ill all day. It was a struggle to get through qualifying, honestly, but we were able to do it and after the Verizon P1 Pole Award presentation I just started feeling a lot worse. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be at the press conference afterward. The car was great today and a big credit to the guys for doing a terrific job in qualifying. I’ll try to get some good rest tonight and come back ready to race on Sunday.”
Simon Pagenaud in the No.22 Hewlett Packard Enterprises Team Penske Chevrolet will start alongside his team mate in second place. The Frenchman goes into tomorrow’s race aiming for his first Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg victory.
Speaking following his qualifying session Pagenaud commented by saying:
It was a good day. It was a really good day. It’s been a good weekend so far. You can feel a good difference in our group, on the No. 22 side, in our second year together. It’s a lot of fun actually. The lap time shows. It’s all good at the moment. Qualifying was super, super intense. I had a blast out there. The car felt really good. It’s just about getting those last little bits everywhere you can. But, yeah, super happy about the performance so far. I think in race trim we will be in probably a little bit better shape, so I’m excited about that.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet will start the race from third place setting a fastest time of 1m 00.4995s and speaking following the session, the Brazilian commented by saying:
The Hitachi car was pretty good. At the beginning we were not that strong on the qualifying, but we were able to dig in. My engineer (Jonathan Diuguid) and Roger (Penske) and the entire No. 3 team did a phenomenal job. They were working during qualifying. Every step of the way, we were making improvements and the car was getting faster and faster. In the end we took a big gamble. It almost paid off. Unfortunately, it was a little bit too much. But great effort for the whole organization. To have 1-2-3-4, again, it shows we’re really working together as a team, we want to win as a team, and we’re going to keep pushing. Great effort for Team Penske.
Last year’s Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg winner Juan Pablo Montoya in the No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet will start the race from fourth place rounding up a fantastic day for Roger ‘The Captain’ Penske’.
Speaking following the session, Montoya commented by saying:
It was OK. We struggled. We were really good this morning. I was really happy. We only ran one set of new tires. On red tires we were not as good as we needed to be. I think the track went off a little bit. Didn’t adjust the Verizon car enough for qualifying, so we were a little bit behind. Overall it was good. Last year I won the race from there, so I don’t mind.