Herta leads rookies, Alonso gets first Indy laps of 2019

Harding Steinbrenner Racing-Honda’s Colton Herta set the pace in the Rookies and Refreshers segment of today’s test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, while Fernando Alonso’s McLaren-Chevy made a faltering start.

Herta leads rookies, Alonso gets first Indy laps of 2019

Following a four-hour delay in the veterans’ session due to heavy rain, the two-hour session for the NTT IndyCar Series’ full-time rookies and also refreshers was delayed in starting and ended early due to bad weather.

However, there was approximately 90mins of green-flag running, and Circuit of The Americas winner Herta took advantage of it to turn 61 laps and emerge with the fastest speed of the session – 226.108mph. That was fifth fastest speed of the day, admittedly set with the aid of a tow from both Alonso and the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda of Marcus Ericsson.

However, Herta’s best lap without the aid of a draft, was in fact the fastest no-tow speed of the day, an impressive 223.121mph lap of the iconic 2.5-mile course.

Herta was a little over 0.5mph faster than Team Penske-Chevrolet’s three-time Indy winner Helio Castroneves, while veteran Oriol Servia drove his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda entry to third fastest time.

Alonso stumbled away on his out lap at the start of the session and needed to be towed back to pits, with NBCSN reporting from McLaren that he had a duff battery. The fact that he took 45 minutes to return to the track suggested something more significant than that.

The two-time Formula 1 World Champion, who starred on his Indy 500 debut in 2017, would eventually set a fastest speed of 218.690mph.

Felix Rosenqvist, who like Herta has competed at IMS in the Indy Lights series, finished in fourth place ahead of Conor Daly, who was suffering severe helmet buffeting in the fifth Andretti Autosport car.

Santino Ferrucci was sixth for Dale Coyne Racing, ahead of fellow rookie Ericsson, while JR Hildebrand, driving one of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s entries, was eighth.

The curtailed session means that while all the rookies have completed their Rookie Orientation Program, only Conor Daly has completed his Refresher course. 

Alonso needs to turn 10 more laps at 215-plus mph, Castroneves needs three laps at 215-plus, JR Hildebrand two laps, and Oriol Servia eight laps. All four will be permitted to do so on the opening day of Indy 500 practice on Tuesday, May 14.

Testing times:

Pos. No. Driver Time Gap Laps Speed Team
1 88 Colton Herta 39.804   61 226.108 Harding Steinbrenner Racing
2 3 Helio Castroneves 39.900 0.0958 45 225.565 Team Penske
3 77 Oriol Servia 40.403 0.5991 38 222.755 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
4 10 Felix Rosenqvist 40.435 0.6312 72 222.578 Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
5 25 Conor Daly 40.615 0.8108 56 221.594 Andretti Autosport
6 19 Santino Ferrucci 40.791 0.9869 63 220.637 Dale Coyne Racing
7 7 Marcus Ericsson 40.838 1.0339 59 220.384 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport
8 48 JR Hildebrand 40.867 1.0629 42 220.227 Dreyer and Reinbold Racing
9 66 Fernando Alonso 41.154 1.3502 29 218.690 McLaren Racing
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