Newgarden Fastest, Penske Crowd Top 10 in St. Petersburg Practice 1

Defending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Josef Newgarden found himself at the top of the timing sheets once again on the Streets of St. Petersburg, as all of his Team Penske teammates finished the session in the top ten.

Newgarden’s time of 1:00.802 was closely followed by Will Power in second with a time of 1:00.810. Simon Pagenaud finally found himself towards the top of the scoring sheets again in fifth with a time of 1:00.899, while rookie Scott McLaughlin finished the session in eighth with a time of 1:01.015 at the track he made his IndyCar debut at last October.

The session was delayed for a brief period after an issue with timing and scoring, but soon got going. The only other stoppage came with three minutes remaining as Sebastien Bourdais overshot turn 10, and stalled his A.J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet trying to return to the track. After the checkered flag flew, the top 15 times were all within 0.5 seconds of each other, showing just how competitive this 2021 NTT IndyCar Series field is.

Splitting the Penskes of Power and Pagenaud were the Andretti Autosport duo of Colton Herta and Alexander Rossi. After being top contenders for a majority of the October race, they finished right back at the top with times of 1:00.834 and 1:00.865 for third and fourth place respectively.

Chip Ganassi Racing were not as dominant as they were in practice last week at Barber Motorsports Park, as Scott Dixon‘s time of 1:00.915 was good enough for sixth place, the highest of any of the Ganassi cars. Marcus Ericsson finished eleventh, while Alex Palou and Jimmie Johnson found themselves way down the order in twentieth and twenty-fourth respectively.

Sandwiching eighth-place McLaughlin were the two Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolets of Felix Rosenqvist and Pato O’Ward. Despite locking up and going into the runoff area in turn 7, Rosenqvist set a time of 1:00.995 that was good enough for seventh place. O’Ward had a cleaner session, but finished ninth with a time of 1:01.060.

Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing started this weekend off much better than last, cracking the top ten with a time of 1:01.091, capitalizing on the pace the team found during the race last weekend at Barber.

One of the first cars on track today, Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing‘s rookie Romain Grosjean finished the session in ninteenth with a time of 1:01.605. Like Bourdais, Grosjean also made a trip to the turn 10 runoff road, after locking up his rear tyres with 16 minutes left in the session. He was able to quickly get the car turned around and back on track.

The second practice session will take place on Saturday 24 April at 0945 EST / 1445 BST.

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Practice 1 Results

1 2 Josef Newgarden USA Team Penske 01:00.802
2 12 Will Power AUS Team Penske 01:00.810
3 26 Colton Herta USA Andretti Autosport 01:00.834
4 27 Alexander Rossi USA Andretti Autosport 01:00.865
5 22 Simon Pagenaud FRA Team Penske 01:00.899
6 9 Scott Dixon NZL Chip Ganassi Racing 01:00.915
7 7 Felix Rosenqvist SWE Arrow McLaren SP 01:00.995
8 3 Scott McLaughlin (R) NZL Team Penske 01:01.015
9 5 Pato O’Ward MEX Arrow McLaren SP 01:01.060
10 15 Graham Rahal USA Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 01:01.091
11 8 Marcus Ericsson SWE Chip Ganassi Racing 01:01.117
12 21 Rinus VeeKay NED Ed Carpenter Racing 01:01.175
13 28 Ryan Hunter-Reay USA Andretti Autosport 01:01.194
14 14 Sebastien Bourdais FRA A.J. Foyt Enterprises 01:01.269
15 60 Jack Harvey ENG Meyer Shank Racing 01:01.298
16 20 Conor Daly USA Ed Carpenter Racing 01:01.361
17 29 James Hinchcliffe CAN Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport 01:01.402
18 30 Takuma Sato JPN Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 01:01.460
19 51 Romain Grosjean (R) FRA Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing 01:01.605
20 10 Alex Palou ESP Chip Ganassi Racing 01:01.739
21 18 Ed Jones UAE Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser-Sullivan 01:02.153
22 59 Max Chilton ENG Carlin 01:02.276
23 4 Dalton Kellett CAN A.J. Foyt Enterprises 01:02.926
24 48 Jimmie Johnson (R) USA Chip Ganassi Racing 01:03.131
(R) = Rookie

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