Andretti Herta Autosport Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Alexander Rossi had a productive opening day at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg on Friday as the Californian who has only just become and IndyCar driver completed 47 laps and ended the day with the 13th fastest combined time from practice one and two.

Rossi’s day for the most part went well despite a small brush with the wall this morning and than stalling the car in the afternoon but despite these minor issues as he learns the IndyCar ropes he was happy with the progress that he during the day saying:

This afternoon session was a big step forward for the No. 98 from this morning, in terms of little issues, me knowing the track better and us understanding the car. This is only our third day out working together, so every time we go on track is a little bit of a learning experience still, but I would say the progression from morning to afternoon was very positive. We’re still not really close to where we want to be, but we took a step in the right direction and we will keep working this evening to do the same tomorrow.

Rossi’s team mate Carlos Munoz in the No.26 ended the day with the seventh combined fastest time completing 44 laps throughout the day and speaking following day one he stated:

It’s nice to be back at the Streets of St. Petersburg, back to the season. It was a positive day for the No. 26 Honda, I think. We were in the top ten and everyone is really close. I think for tomorrow, in qualifying we’ll have to put everything together to be in the front. We still have some work to do. We are missing little tenths out there, so we will work hard overnight and see what we got tomorrow.

Marco Andretti competing in the No.27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda ended the day with the 11th fastest combined time ending up ahead of his team mate’s Ryan Hunter Reay and Alexander Rossi. Speaking following the opening day of action, Andretti commented by saying:

(The afternoon session) was pretty messy, actually. We sort of got derailed trying something new with the Snapple car, and in doing that it messed up my last new Firestone tire run… I think before that I was top six. I think Honda made a step forward and today shows the potential for the season, but from a team standpoint we are still working to get up there and to be the first Honda.

Ryan Hunter Reay ended the day with the 12th fastest combined time in the No.28 DHL Honda and speaking following the on track action the 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner commented by saying:

Not really the first day we’d like to see here. We just ended up with too much imbalance in the car – lacking grip. We need to put our heads together tonight and come out with a better package because we have a good half-second to find tomorrow. Nonetheless, it’s good to be back at the Firestone Grand Prix here in St. Pete. We’re looking forward to the weekend and hope to get the DHL Honda up front.


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