Colton Herta snatches pole from Jack Harvey at St. Petersburg

Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta took his fourth career IndyCar pole position after narrowly edging out Britain’s Jack Harvey at St. Petersburg.

Herta snatched pole by a quarter of a second over Harvey on his final run and will be hoping he can convert his starting grid place into a win following his unfortunate 2020 St. Petersburg Grand Prix where he started on the second row and ended outside the top ten.

This is the first time Herta will start on pole at St. Petersburg since the 2017 IndyLights championship, where he took the race win in dominant style.

Jack Harvey can take some comfort in his best qualifying position since the 2020 Indianapolis 500. He starts in front of seasoned veterans such as Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud in third and fourth respectively.

Photo Courtesy of Joe Skibinski

Several teams struggled to set representative times on the Firestone alternate tyres through Q1 and Q2. Patricio O’Ward tried heading out on fresh primaries and opted to stay on them. The team believed his final lap would be faster than his rivals could manage on used softs that they’d already deployed in the earlier sessions. Unfortunately, this tactic did not pay off. He finished in sixth, 0.75s from pole position. Alongside him is two-time St. Petersburg winner and local resident Sebastien Bourdais – once again showing fine form around this track.

Rinus VeeKay, still driving with a broken finger and fresh after finishing sixth at Barber Motorsports Park was the first car to miss out on the ‘Fast Six’ so starts seventh

Scott Dixon had a disastrous qualifying session. The Kiwi spun going into turn 8 which in turn impeded another driver. The defending champion had his fastest time deleted as a result. His second fastest time was quick enough to earn him eighth position for tomorrow’s race.

Behind him was Graham Rahal while last weeks race winner Alex Palou was 10th.

Alexander Rossi had been the fastest in the first qualifying group but failed to make the Fast Six and starts 11th ahead of Andretti team-mate James Hinchcliffe.

Photo Courtesy of Joe Skibinski

Romain Grosjean who looked promising at times could not make it out of the first qualifying group and will start in 18th just behind Felix Rosenqvist in 17th who is experiencing a rather disappointing turn of form.

The biggest shock of qualifying came in the form of Will Power. The Australian, who has claimed nine out of the last 11 pole position at St. Pete struggled massively and spun out on his final lap. He will start down in 20th place.

Jimmie Johnson, who improved by over half a second on his personal best time of the weekend also could not make it out of the first qualifying round and will start in 23rd position.

CLASSIFICATION:

  1. Colton Herta
  2. Jack Harvey
  3. Josef Newgarden
  4. Simon Pagenaud
  5. Sebastien Bourdais
  6. Patricio O’Ward
  7. Rinus VeeKay
  8. Scott Dixon
  9. Graham Rahal
  10. Alex Palou
  11. Alexander Rossi
  12. James Hinchcliffe
  13. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  14. Scott McLaughlin
  15. Takuma Sato
  16. Marcus Ericsson
  17. Felix Roseqnvist
  18. Romain Grosjean
  19. Conor Daly
  20. Will Power
  21. Ed Jones
  22. Max Chilton
  23. Jimmie Johnson
  24. Dalton Kellett

 

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