Having set the pace through two of the three practice sessions and then missing pole only by what he considered to have been his own mistake, James Hinchcliffe went into the Honda GP of Alabama with high hopes of a victory. That didn’t pan out for the Canadian, who wound up leading his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate Marcus Ericsson home in sixth place. While naturally less than satisfied, Hinchcliffe took positives away from the afternoon.
“Obviously with the pace we had all weekend, sixth is a bit of a disappointment for sure,” he said. “The Arrow car had a solid podium going there until that yellow (for Graham Rahal’s stalled car and Max Chilton’s accident) caught us off guard. We were all over [Scott] Dixon’s gearbox in that third stint — we were quite a bit quicker, just couldn’t get past.
“We were looking to make a move during that cycle, but that restart just threw us for a loop. We had a little bit too much understeer in the car in that last stint. We had a good long-run car, but we weren’t the quickest getting up to speed. I don’t think our out-laps were great, and the first lap or so on the restart, we weren’t awesome.
“I feel like we left a couple of positions out there today. The pace was good all weekend, and if we keep doing that, eventually our day will come.”
Teammate Ericsson’s fighting seventh from a 20th-place start, meanwhile, provided a much-needed boost for the ex-F1 driver after a frustrating start to his IndyCar career.
“I was having so much fun out there,” enthused the Swede. “Everyone told me it was such a tough track to pass on and I think we proved the opposite.
“We were so unlucky at St. Pete and COTA. The result we got today is something we can really build on.”