McLaughlin tops crash-filled IndyCar Practice 2

Scott McLaughlin

Scott McLaughlin has set the pace in IndyCar Practice 2 at St Petersburg as Romain Grosjean, Takuma Sato, and Alex Palou all came to grief.

McLaughlin became the first driver to lap the 1.8mi (2.9km) street circuit in less than one minute, driving the #3 Team Penske entry to a 0:59.7342s once he had switched to the red option tyres.

Next-best at the completion of the 45-minute hit-out was Andretti Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian’s Colton Herta on a 1:00.0851s, and Meyer Shank Racing’s Simon Pagenaud on a 1:00.0853s.

Notwithstanding McLaughlin’s time, the biggest story of the session was arguably either Grosjean shunting Sato to cause the second red flag, or 2021 champion Alex Palou clouting the wall to cause the third and final interruption.

Already, Jack Harvey (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing) had hit the concrete barrier on exit of Turn 9 after he touched the wall on drivers’ right as he apexed, bringing about the first red flag in the 18th minute.

The session returned to green in the 23rd minute and while Grosjean was soon on a hot lap, some were still circulating slowly as they tried to find their own real estate.

So it was that the Frenchman came up on a bunch of cars at Turn 10, smashing his Andretti Autosport machine into the back of Sato’s #51 Dale Coyne Racing w/ RWR entry at Turn 10.

CLICK HERE for Sato reaction and replay

To that point, drivers had only run on the black, primary tyres, with another Andretti driver in Alexander Rossi fastest on a 1:00.3063s set during his second run, and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay second-fastest courtesy of an earlier 1:00.4693s.

Romain Grosjean shunts Takuma Sato. Picture: Stan Sport

Once the Grosjean-Sato mess was cleared, and Jimmie Johnson (Chip Ganassi Racing) was sent on his way again after a separate spin at Turn 8 as that drama was unfolding, what remained of the 26-car field predominantly returned to the race track on the red, alternate rubber.

McLaughlin immediately punched out the aforementioned ‘59’, usurping Herta’s 1:00.0s and Rossi’s 1:00.1075s.

As the New Zealander pitted next time around, Pagenaud moved to third, before the red flag came out again when Palou (CGR) made essentially the same mistake as Harvey, albeit one which resulted in a harder hit with the concrete on exit.

The recovery crew worked quickly enough for the session to go green again with just over 90 seconds remaining, and hence time enough for one flying lap each, but there were no major changes to the timing screen thereafter.

McLaughlin thus held sway from Herta, Pagenaud, Rossi, and Team Penske’s Will Power on a 1:00.1600s.

The rest of the top 10 was VeeKay from Palou, Kyle Kirkwood (AJ Foyt Racing), Pato O’Ward (McLaren SP), and Felix Rosenqvist (McLaren SP), with Josef Newgarden (Penske) 14th and Scott Dixon (CGR) 20th.

As Palou’s seventh position suggested, however, not every driver apparently got a clean red tyre lap in, in what was the final practice hit-out before qualifying.

That session starts this morning at 04:30 AEDT and will be streamed live on Stan Sport.

Results: Practice 2

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Fastest lap Split 1st/prev Lap
1 3 Scott McLaughlin D/C/F 0:59.7342   18/21
2 26 Colton Herta D/H/F 1:00.0851 0.3509/0.3509 19/23
3 60 Simon Pagenaud D/H/F 1:00.0853 0.3511/0.0002 14/17
4 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 1:00.1075 0.3733/0.0222 16/19
5 12 Will Power D/C/F 1:00.1600 0.4258/0.0525 15/20
6 21 Rinus VeeKay D/C/F 1:00.2104 0.4762/0.0504 13/14
7 10 Alex Palou D/H/F 1:00.2364 0.5022/0.0260 22/22
8 14 Kyle Kirkwood D/C/F 1:00.2402 0.5060/0.0038 16/18
9 5 Pato O’Ward D/C/F 1:00.3333 0.5991/0.0931 16/19
10 7 Felix Rosenqvist D/C/F 1:00.3763 0.6421/0.0430 15/18
11 20 Conor Daly D/C/F 1:00.3820 0.6478/0.0057 17/20
12 06 Helio Castroneves D/H/F 1:00.3860 0.6518/0.0040 12/14
13 8 Marcus Ericsson D/H/F 1:00.3910 0.6568/0.0050 16/20
14 2 Josef Newgarden D/C/F 1:00.3919 0.6577/0.0009 19/22
15 29 Devlin DeFrancesco D/H/F 1:00.4390 0.7048/0.0471 16/20
16 30 Christian Lundgaard D/H/F 1:00.4587 0.7245/0.0197 17/20
17 18 David Malukas D/H/F 1:00.4872 0.7530/0.0285 15/17
18 77 Callum Ilott D/C/F 1:00.6036 0.8694/0.1164 15/16
19 28 Romain Grosjean D/H/F 1:00.7546 1.0204/0.1510 7/12
20 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 1:00.7970 1.0628/0.0424 17/17
21 4 Dalton Kellett D/C/F 1:00.8203 1.0861/0.0233 15/18
22 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 1:01.3287 1.5945/0.5084 6/19
23 51 Takuma Sato D/H/F 1:01.3591 1.6249/0.0304 4/12
24 45 Jack Harvey D/H/F 1:01.3650 1.6308/0.0059 5/10
25 48 Jimmie Johnson D/H/F 1:01.8848 2.1506/0.5198 6/14
26 11 Tatiana Calderon D/C/F 1:02.1327 2.3985/0.2479 17/19

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