Simon Pagenaud’s month of May gets better by the day, as the winner of the Indianapolis Grand Prix and new pole winner for the Indianapolis 500 led the field during Monday’s intense two-hour practice session at the Speedway.
“No problem on full stint,” the Frenchman said. “The car was very consistent, just degrading the front tires a little bit at the end of the runs, but overall everything was very solid, very strong. We did some fuel saving as well, to see how we could do in the race. So it was quite interesting to see all that stuff, and we were able to do some engine tuning as well, and so far, so good.”
All 33 cars took part in the session, and at times, 20 or more cars circulated the 2.5-mile oval in a flowing line as drivers took turns searching for speed and stability while running in traffic.
Pagenaud (228.441mph) and Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden (228.273mph) were the only two driver to run above the 227 mph mark in their Chevy-powered Dallara DW12s, and behind them, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe (227.994mph), who will start 32nd on Sunday, showed impressive pace as the first Honda representative among the lead group.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon (227.951mph) and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi (227.660mph) completed the top five with their Honda entries, and other than a minor brush with the wall by Arrow SPM’s Marcus Ericsson, 2469 laps were completed without incident.