Monday, March 20, 2023

Grosjean Paces Opening IndyCar Practice at St. Petersburg

Romain Grosjean in the No. 28 Andretti Autosport Honda
Romain Grosjean paced the first practice session of the 2022 IndyCar season. Image courtesy of Chris Owens / Penske Entertainment

Romain Grosjean opened up his tenure with Andretti Autosport by putting the No. 28 DHL Honda at the top of the timesheets of opening practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The 35-year-old Swiss-born Frenchman put down a flying lap at 1minutes,01.0525seconds (106.138mph) around the 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit to pace the 45-minute session. His lap bumped teammate Colton Herta, defending winner of the event, who ended up finishing runner-up in the session by 0.1042 of a second.

Will Power came away third in the No. 12 Team Penske Chevrolet, followed by a pair of Hondas in Simon Pagenaud (Meyer Shank Racing) and Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

“It was a pretty good first session,” Grosjean said, via Peacock.  “It went very easy. There’s still a bit more speed we can get out of the car to be get more to my liking, but as I said, the car was very good, very smooth to drive. And yeah, (I’m) 35, almost 36 years old but loving it.”

Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport), Jack Harvey (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske), Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing) and rookie David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) completed the rest of the top 10.

The session was pretty straightforward until the red flag came out with less than 10 minutes remaining after Jimmie Johnson overshot and came to a temporary stop in Turn 10. Despite a brief fire to the left front, he was able to continue on and practice resumed a few moments later.

One notable is reigning NTT IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou ended the up 17th in the No. 10 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, just three spots ahead of teammate and six-time series champion Scott Dixon in 20th.

Results: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg – Practice 1

128Romain Grosjean61.052514
226Colton Herta61.1567-0.104219
312Will Power61.2282-0.175718
460Simon Pagenaud61.3249-0.272418
515Graham Rahal61.3683-0.315813
627Alexander Rossi61.457-0.404517
745Jack Harvey61.4903-0.437816
83Scott McLaughlin61.5354-0.482918
921Rinus VeeKay61.5522-0.499717
1018David Malukas61.5889-0.536422
1106Helio Castroneves61.6086-0.556118
1214Kyle Kirkwood61.6177-0.565222
1329Devlin DeFrancesco61.6632-0.610721
142Josef Newgarden61.6903-0.637818
158Marcus Ericsson61.6922-0.639718
167Felix Rosenqvist61.7267-0.674214
1710Alex Palou61.7267-0.674217
1820Conor Daly61.7462-0.693719
1951Takuma Sato61.7617-0.709217
209Scott Dixon61.7747-0.722218
215Pato O'Ward61.8297-0.777214
2277Callum Ilott62.1578-1.105323
234Dalton Kellett62.2448-1.192323
2448Jimmie Johnson62.4246-1.372113
2530Christian Lundgaard62.5246-1.472122
2611Tatiana Calderon63.7173-2.664822

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