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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg '17 - Qualifying

Sunny, light breeze, "florida warm"... track temp of 121 degrees. Quintessential St. Petersburg, and the perfect setting to contest the pole position for the 14th running of the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. With Honda dominating so far this weekend, the biggest question, besides who would be on pole, was whether or not Chevy was actually struggling or merely sandbagging.

Here's how the day unfolded...

Round 1 - Group 1:
12 Will Power
83 Charlie Kimball
5 James Hinchcliffe
8 Max Chilton
14 Carlos Munoz
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay

20 Spencer Pigot
27 Marco Andretti
7 Mikhail Aleshin
21 JR Hildebrand

No real surprises with this group based on the practices this weekend.

Biggest Winner: probably Carlos Munoz. New team, been quietly toiling around mid to back of the field, and in a Chevy. (which we're still unsure of whether they are sandbagging)

Biggest Loser: Marco Andretti. He's been fast all weekend. Consistently in the top 5. He would end up being the only Andretti driver not to advance.

Now that being said, the spread between Will Power (fastest) and JR Hildebrand (slowest) was 0.7959... That's a sneeze.

Round 1 - Group 2:
9 Scott Dixon
2 Josef Newgarden
26 Takuma Sato
10 Tony Kanaan
98 Alexander Rossi
15 Graham Rahal

1 Simon Pagenaud
3 Helio Castroneves
19 Ed Jones,
4 Conor Daly
18 Sebastien Bourdais

This group was pretty evenly "stacked" potential wise, but you've got to feel for everyone, with Sebastien Bourdais bringing out the Red Flag soon after the start of the session, leaving everyone to sprint to the finish with about 2 mins to go in the session.

Biggest Winner: Sato. New team, rough start to the weekend with a crash in Practice 2, and yet, here he is moving to round 2.
Honourable Mention: Rahal, who spent the session complaining over the radio about brake issues, yet managed to squeak into the top 6.

Biggest Loser: Pagenaud & Castroneves. After 2 years of a Penske 1-2-3-4 in qualifying, half the squad didn't make it past round 1.
DisHonourable Mention: Bourdais who not only lost his lap time, but was parked for the remainder of the session, no chance to even get repaired and back on track.
DisHonourable Mention 2: The Chevy power plant who occupied only 3 of the 12 spots advancing to round 2.

Round 2
9 Scott Dixon
5 James Hinchcliffe
2 Josef Newgarden
26 Takuma Sato
12 Will Power
10 Tony Kanaan

8 Max Chilton
98 Alexander Rossi
83 Charlie Kimball
15 Graham Rahal
14 Carlos Munoz
28 Ryan Hunter-Reay


Biggest Winner: TAKU! What a great way to show your new team they made the right choice? Especially when you're the ONLY one of four to make it through to the shootout.

Biggest Loser: This is a three way tie. Kimball who was at the top of the chart for most of the session. Hunter-Reay, who kissed the wall, and couldn't get the car back out for another shot at a quick lap. Chilton, who's teammate got jiggy-wit-it on track, and ended up blocking him mid quick lap.

Firestone Fast 6

12 Will Power
9 Scott Dixon
5 James Hinchcliffe
2 Josef Newgarden
26 Takuma Sato
10 Tony Kanaan

Though they all gave it a valiant effort, there doesn't appear to be anyone in the field who has anything for Will Power when it comes to the particular track on qualifying day. Though he wasn't able to match or surpass his track record, he did capture his 7th of 8 poles at this event, and his 45th career pole.

Here's a quick look at tomorrow's schedule:

Sun, Mar 12th
9am 9:30am - IndyCar Warm-Up
9:45am 10:45am - Indy Lights Race #2
12:30PM - Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (110 laps)
4:30pm 5:20pm - Pro Mazda Race #2



*Quotes to Follow*

Full results of the 1st qualifying session on St. Petersburg


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Written 03-11-2017, 04:52 pm
Updated 03-12-2017, 12:38 am
Written by M. Beer
Photography IMS

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Monday - April 30
10:00 am Test session 1 
01:00 pm Test session 2 
Tuesday - May 1
10:00 am Rookie test 1 
02:00 pm Rookie test 2 
Tuesday - May 15
11:00 am Free practice 1 
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08:00 am Free practice 5 
11:00 am Qualifying 1 
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12:00 pm Free practice 6 
02:45 pm Qualifying 2 
Monday - May 21
12:00 pm Free practice 7 
Friday - May 25
11:00 am Warm-up 
Sunday - May 27
12:20 pm Race 

Warm-up
1. T. Kanaan 0:39.510
2. S. Dixon 0:39.879
3. Mo. Andretti 0:39.961
4. S. Bourdais 0:40.033
5. C. Kimball 0:40.051
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