Herta nabs Laguna Seca pole, Power pegged back
Sunday 19th September, 2021 - 8:36am
Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta has edged out team-mate Alexander Rossi for pole position at the Grand Prix of Monterey in an eventful qualifying session.
Herta set a 1:10.7994s at the death to snatch top spot away from Team Penske’s Will Power, who initially ended the session in second.
However, the 2014 IndyCar Series winner was demoted to third after setting his fastest lap under yellow flag conditions when McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward spun.
That promoted Rossi to second, a 1:10.9951s putting him 0.1957s shy of the quickest time.
It’s the second time Herta will start the Grand Prix of Monterey from the top spot, the 21-year-old converting pole position to victory last time out in 2019.
“I’m glad we ended up doing three [laps] because I guess two wasn’t enough,” Herta explained.
“I really got to nail that third lap and beat Power to the pole, so that was really cool.
“I know Mario [Andretti] was sitting on the pit stand. I’m sure he’s really happy about me taking pole away from Power.
“What an amazing track. I love this place so much. It’s awesome to have two from two for pole positions here.”
IndyCar Series points leader Alex Palou ended the session in fourth, leading the charge for Chip Ganassi Racing on a 1:11.3317s.
The Spaniard looked ragged at times, his best lap a little over half a second away from the top time by Herta.
Oliver Askew was the standout of the session, making it through to the final leg of qualifying for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in only his third start this season.
Last in the Fast Six was O’Ward, who made a mistake at the Corkscrew and was stripped of his best lap for bringing out the yellow flag.
While Palou made it through to the final stage of qualifying, the same could not be said for his team-mates Marcus Ericsson and Scott Dixon who will line up seventh and eighth respectively.
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) and Max Chilton (Carlin) rounded out the top 10 having failed to make it out of the second round along with 11th placed James Hinchcliffe (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport) and Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) in 12th.
Notably, Josef Newgarden was knocked out of the first group stage, meaning he’ll start a lowly 17th just behind Team Penske stable-mate Scott McLaughlin in 16th.
Earlier in the day, McLaughlin topped the second practice session after setting a time late in the piece on the red sidewall soft compound tyre.
A miscommunication in the second round meant McLaughlin pitted one lap too early when he could have pushed on for another lap.
Fellow Rookie of the Year title chaser Romain Grosjean will start 13th for Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.
The Grand Prix of Monterey will get underway tomorrow at 05:00 (AEST).
Results: IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Monterey, Qualifying
|1||26||Colton Herta||01:10.7994||Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six|
|2||27||Alexander Rossi||01:10.9951||Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six|
|3||12||Will Power||01:11.1317||Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six|
|4||10||Alex Palou||01:11.3317||Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six|
|5||45||Oliver Askew||01:11.8937||Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six|
|6||5||Pato O’Ward||01:24.2715||Round 3 / Firestone Fast Six|
|7||8||Marcus Ericsson||01:11.2581||Elimination Round 2 / Top 12|
|8||9||Scott Dixon||01:11.2768||Elimination Round 2 / Top 12|
|9||22||Simon Pagenaud||01:11.3067||Elimination Round 2 / Top 12|
|10||59||Max Chilton||01:11.3088||Elimination Round 2 / Top 12|
|11||29||James Hinchcliffe||01:11.4567||Elimination Round 2 / Top 12|
|12||15||Graham Rahal||01:12.5932||Elimination Round 2 / Top 12|
|13||51||Romain Grosjean (R)||01:11.5303||Elimination Round 1 / Group 1|
|14||18||Ed Jones||01:11.4692||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|
|15||7||Felix Rosenqvist||01:11.5446||Elimination Round 1 / Group 1|
|16||3||Scott McLaughlin (R)||01:11.5767||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|
|17||2||Josef Newgarden||01:11.5503||Elimination Round 1 / Group 1|
|18||20||Conor Daly||01:11.5921||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|
|19||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||01:11.6721||Elimination Round 1 / Group 1|
|20||60||Jack Harvey||01:11.6689||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|
|21||14||Sebastien Bourdais||01:11.9776||Elimination Round 1 / Group 1|
|22||6||Helio Castroneves||01:11.8071||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|
|23||30||Takuma Sato||01:12.1443||Elimination Round 1 / Group 1|
|24||21||Rinus VeeKay||01:12.2843||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|
|25||48||Jimmie Johnson (R)||01:12.2865||Elimination Round 1 / Group 1|
|26||77||Callum Ilott (R)||01:12.3558||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|
|27||4||Dalton Kellett||01:12.6055||Elimination Round 1 / Group 2|