St. Petersburg IndyCar: Hunter-Reay on top again in FP3

Ryan Hunter-Reay grabbed top spot in the final practice for the Firestone GP of St. Petersburg before qualifying for the opening round of the NTT IndyCar Series season.

St. Petersburg IndyCar: Hunter-Reay on top again in FP3

The Andretti Autosport-Honda ace took just 60.8966sec to lap the 1.8-mile street/airport course, but was only 0.0039sec faster than Josef Newgarden who headed a Team Penske-Chevrolet revival after a disappointing Friday.

Newgarden’s teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power were fourth and fifth, separated from their sister car by Takuma Sato in the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing-Honda.

There was little time-wasting at the start of the session, with several big hitters taking to the track within the first 10 minutes including all three Penskes, and two-time and defending St. Pete winner, Sebastien Bourdais in the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan-Honda.

The session was stopped 15mins in, just after Hunter-Reay went top when one of his teammates Zach Veach spun under braking for Turn 13, went off and backed his Andretti car into the tire-wall.

With 17mins to go, Hanley’s stalled DragonSpeed car at Turn 4 brought out another red.

In the closing eight minutes, Max Chilton went into a run-off area and stalled, causing a third red flag while Ed Jones ended the session slightly early with a red/checkered. That was a result of him parking his Ed Carpenter Racing-Chevy in a runoff area just after grabbing sixth place.

The two Chip Ganassi Racing-Hondas of Scott Dixon were seventh and eighth ahead of the Harding Steinbrenner Racing-Honda of Colton Herta. Marco Andretti in P10 might have been faster but got held up on his final flyer by Bourdais.

The most positive story of the session was Matheus Leist grabbing 11th for AJ Foyt Racing-Chevrolet, within half a second of Hunter-Reay’s top time.

FP3 results:

Pos. # Driver Team Time Gap
1 28 United States Ryan Hunter-Reay United States Andretti Autosport 1'00.8966  
2 2 United States Josef Newgarden United States Team Penske 1'00.9005 0.0039
3 30 Japan Takuma Sato United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1'00.9033 0.0067
4 22 France Simon Pagenaud United States Team Penske 1'01.0500 0.1534
5 12 Australia Will Power United States Team Penske 1'01.0750 0.1784
6 20 United Arab Emirates Ed Jones United States Ed Carpenter Racing 1'01.0987 0.2021
7 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon United States Chip Ganassi Racing 1'01.1482 0.2516
8 10 Sweden Felix Rosenqvist United States Chip Ganassi Racing 1'01.1677 0.2711
9 88 United States Colton Herta United States Harding Racing 1'01.2754 0.3788
10 98 United States Marco Andretti United States Andretti Autosport 1'01.2914 0.3948
11 4 Brazil Matheus Leist United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1'01.3708 0.4742
12 5 Canada James Hinchcliffe United States Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1'01.4006 0.5040
13 7 Sweden Marcus Ericsson United States Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 1'01.4867 0.5901
14 18 France Sébastien Bourdais United States Dale Coyne Racing 1'01.5141 0.6175
15 15 United States Graham Rahal United States Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 1'01.5884 0.6918
16 23 United States Charlie Kimball United Kingdom Carlin 1'01.6295 0.7329
17 21 United States Spencer Pigot United States Ed Carpenter Racing 1'01.6777 0.7811
18 27 United States Alexander Rossi United States Andretti Autosport 1'01.7070 0.8104
19 26 United States Zach Veach United States Andretti Autosport 1'01.7206 0.8240
20 14 Brazil Tony Kanaan United States A.J. Foyt Enterprises 1'01.7533 0.8567
21 59 United Kingdom Max Chilton United Kingdom Carlin 1'02.0459 1.1493
22 19 United States Santino Ferrucci United States Dale Coyne Racing 1'02.2033 1.3067
23 60 United Kingdom Jack Harvey United States Meyer Shank Racing 1'02.4158 1.5192
24 81 United Kingdom Ben Hanley United States DragonSpeed 1'03.4980 2.6014
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Series IndyCar
Event St. Pete
Drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay
Author David Malsher-Lopez
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