Herta fastest, McLaughlin fifth in opening IndyCar practice

Colton Herta

Colton Herta has set the pace in Practice 1 for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama while Scott McLaughlin ended up fifth-fastest.

The 45-minute session at Barber Motorsports Park ended with an all-Honda top four, Andretti Autosport w/ Curb Agajanian’s Herta prevailing with a margin of 0.0508s over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou.

Andretti Autosport team-mates Alexander Rossi and Romain Grosjean finished third and fourth respectively, while series leader Josef Newgarden (Team Penske) was 18th.

In a relatively quiet first quarter of an hour, Team Penske’s Will Power was the pace-setter with a 1:07.8791s when he brought an end to his opening run.

His team-mate McLaughlin was the first of three to reset the fastest lap in a brief span, clocking a 1:07.6180s before Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport) set a 1:07.4681s and then Palou a 1:07.0681s.

Palou further improved to a 1:06.7046s on his next lap, and that was quickest until Herta rolled out a 1:06.5149s just past the 20-minute mark.

Rossi split them with a 1:06.6657s in the 31st minute before Palou hit back with a 1:06.5657s a few minutes later, and that was the last of the changes to the top three.

Grosjean’s best was a 1:06.7046s, while McLaughlin got to fifth with a 1:06.8705s just before the chequered flag in the #3 Chevrolet.

Completing the top 10 were Scott Dixon (CGR), Pato O’Ward (McLaren SP), Callum Ilott (Juncos Hollinger Racing), Marcus Ericsson (CGR), and Rinus VeeKay (Ed Carpenter Racing).

Power ended up 16th on a 1:07.4132s, while Newgarden was out of his #2 car a few minutes prior to the chequers flying after setting a personal best time of 1:07.5505s.

The session ran uninterrupted, with fairly fine conditions, although there is a significant chance of rain on race day.

Practice 2 starts on Sunday morning at 00:00 AEST, followed by Qualifying at 03:00 AEST, with both of those sessions live and ad-free on Stan Sport.

Results: Practice 1

Pos Num Driver C/E/T Fastest lap Split 1st/prev Lap
1 26 Colton Herta D/H/F 1:06.5149   5/15
2 10 Alex Palou D/H/F 1:06.5657 0.0508/0.0508 8/17
3 27 Alexander Rossi D/H/F 1:06.6657 0.1508/0.1000 6/14
4 28 Romain Grosjean D/H/F 1:06.7046 0.1897/0.0389 5/16
5 3 Scott McLaughlin D/C/F 1:06.8705 0.3556/0.1659 22/22
6 9 Scott Dixon D/H/F 1:06.9251 0.4102/0.0546 10/16
7 5 Pato O’Ward D/C/F 1:06.9838 0.4689/0.0587 4/16
8 77 Callum Ilott D/C/F 1:07.0861 0.5712/0.1023 10/20
9 8 Marcus Ericsson D/H/F 1:07.1012 0.5863/0.0151 6/17
10 21 Rinus VeeKay D/C/F 1:07.1155 0.6006/0.0143 18/18
11 45 Jack Harvey D/H/F 1:07.1841 0.6692/0.0686 7/17
12 06 Helio Castroneves D/H/F 1:07.2293 0.7144/0.0452 6/14
13 7 Felix Rosenqvist D/C/F 1:07.3416 0.8267/0.1123 10/17
14 29 Devlin DeFrancesco D/H/F 1:07.3817 0.8668/0.0401 20/20
15 30 Christian Lundgaard D/H/F 1:07.4004 0.8855/0.0187 11/21
16 12 Will Power D/C/F 1:07.4132 0.8983/0.0128 9/22
17 15 Graham Rahal D/H/F 1:07.4457 0.9308/0.0325 7/17
18 2 Josef Newgarden D/C/F 1:07.5505 1.0356/0.1048 14/15
19 20 Conor Daly D/C/F 1:07.5747 1.0598/0.0242 9/17
20 14 Kyle Kirkwood D/C/F 1:07.6110 1.0961/0.0363 17/17
21 60 Simon Pagenaud D/H/F 1:07.6916 1.1767/0.0806 7/17
22 51 Takuma Sato D/H/F 1:07.7473 1.2324/0.0557 6/17
23 18 David Malukas D/H/F 1:07.9687 1.4538/0.2214 4/16
24 4 Dalton Kellett D/C/F 1:08.4288 1.9139/0.4601 7/19
25 48 Jimmie Johnson D/H/F 1:08.4633 1.9484/0.0345 11/21
26 11 Tatiana Calderon D/C/F 1:09.2677 2.7528/0.8044 18/21

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