Two-time Indy Grand Prix winner Will Power threw in a last-minute flyer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course to top the times in FP1 and edge ahead of two ex-F1 reserve drivers, Alexander Rossi and Jordan King.
The #12 Team Penske-Chevrolet lapped the 2.439-mile course in 70.0866sec, to go a mere 0.0332 faster than Rossi’s Andretti Autosport-Honda, which had last month beat Power by a similar fraction in the test here. However, those times, set in frigid conditions, were some 1sec faster.
King’s Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy was a similar minuscule margin behind Rossi, as the top seven were covered by just 0.2sec. Sebastien Bourdais’ Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan entry was fourth ahead of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda of Graham Rahal, with championship leader sixth fastest in the second Penske.
Ed Jones was just 0.15sec slower than his Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda teammate Scott Dixon, while Spencer Pigot made it two ECR cars in the top 10.
Tenth place went to Helio Castroneves, as he prepares for his first IndyCar race entry since last September in Sonoma, setting a best around 0.35 off his pacesetting teammate, and 0.18sec up on the fourth Penske of Simon Pagenaud.
Zachary Claman De Melo, filling in for Pietro Fittipaldi in the #19 Coyne car was an impressive 14th.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Honda, which struggled in the test, continued to struggle, Robert Wickens and James Hinchcliffe only 16th and 20th.
Carlin Racing’s Charlie Kimball and Max Chilton were only 21st and 23rd, the latter making a couple of run-on errors, but they were also only one second off top spot.
IndyCar, Grand Prix of Indianapolis, FP1
|14||19||Zachary Claman De Melo||16||1'10.5781||0.4915||0.0548||124.407|