St. Pete IndyCar: Herta leads Sato in warm-up

Polesitter Colton Herta led the final practice session for this afternoon’s Firestone GP of St. Petersburg which was full of trips to runoff zones.

St. Pete IndyCar: Herta leads Sato in warm-up

Drivers spent the session weighing up the pluses and minuses of running used softer alternate compound tires compared with the harder compound primaries, as the track evolves to be kinder to the Firestone ‘reds’.

Most drivers’ fastest laps came on that softer compound, and it was pole-winner Colton Herta who topped the times for Andretti Autosport-Honda, ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda’s Takuma Sato.

Scott Dixon was top Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda ahead of fellow New Zealander and rookie Scott McLaughlin in the Team Penske-Chevrolet.

However, times didn’t come easy for many, as Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Pato O’Ward, Dalton Kellett, all took trips down escape roads.

Some drivers had also acquired overnight scoops on top of their aeroscreens, in response to the rising humidity.

Romain Grosjean’s Dale Coyne Racing with RWR-Honda was seen to be smoking from the right side of the engine in the final 10 minutes of the session, although the ex-Formula 1 driver did manage to complete 20 laps.

The 100-lap Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg begins at 12.40pm local (Eastern) time.

Cla Driver Team Laps Time Gap Mph
1 United States Colton Herta United States Andretti Autosport 23 1'00.663   106.819
2 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 24 1'00.676 0.013 106.795
3 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 25 1'00.809 0.146 106.563
4 New Zealand Scott McLaughlin United States Team Penske 26 1'00.872 0.208 106.453
5 Netherlands Rinus van Kalmthout United States Ed Carpenter Racing 25 1'00.941 0.278 106.332
6 Spain Alex Palou United States Chip Ganassi Racing 20 1'01.016 0.353 106.200
7 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 26 1'01.043 0.380 106.153
8 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan 21 1'01.100 0.437 106.054
9 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 25 1'01.130 0.467 106.003
10 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 21 1'01.220 0.557 105.846
11 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 19 1'01.331 0.668 105.656
12 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Arrow McLaren SP 18 1'01.354 0.691 105.616
13 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 24 1'01.385 0.722 105.562
14 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 26 1'01.397 0.734 105.542
15 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 21 1'01.412 0.749 105.516
16 Mexico Patricio O'Ward Arrow McLaren SP 21 1'01.519 0.855 105.333
17 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 26 1'01.618 0.955 105.163
18 Canada James Hinchcliffe Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 24 1'01.756 1.093 104.928
19 United States Conor Daly United States Ed Carpenter Racing 20 1'01.829 1.166 104.804
20 United Kingdom Max Chilton United Kingdom Carlin 22 1'01.867 1.204 104.740
21 France Romain Grosjean Dale Coyne Racing with RWR 20 1'01.972 1.308 104.563
22 France Sébastien Bourdais United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 25 1'01.978 1.315 104.552
23 Canada Dalton Kellett United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 20 1'02.114 1.451 104.323
24 United States Jimmie Johnson United States Chip Ganassi Racing 25 1'02.662 1.999 103.412
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