Alexander Rossi had a set of sticker reds for the Friday afternoon ‘warm-up’ session and he wasn’t afraid to use them, posting a 1m10.0988s to comfortably top the times.
“This morning was difficult because we didn’t get a lap in on blacks,” said Rossi, who coasted the final half of his last lap after running out of fuel and shutting the car off. “So we had to sacrifice the second session to through the checklist, and saved the reds for the warm-up. We’re getting there.”
Rossi, who didn’t use the softer compound in the second practice, was almost 0.8s faster than Andretti Autosport teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, leaving Colton Herta to complete an Andretti-aligned 1-2-3 with a lap just a couple of thousandths off Hunter-Reay’s best time. Scott Dixon and Conor Daly – continuing his ‘year of many firesuits’ by jumping back into Andretti’s No.25 for the weekend – rounded out the top five.
The red flags flew twice during the afternoon, for pretty much identical incidents. The first came within the opening minutes when Ed Jones stopped at the pit entry, while Colton Herta later brought things to halt by getting stuck in exactly the same spot.
For a moment it appeared that a third interruption might be on the cards when Graham Rahal caught the inside curb at the top of the Corkscrew and drove down it backwards; but he managed to gather himself up and continue.
Elsewhere, Sebastien Bourdais was sidelined from the session by a neck complaint.