Indy Grand Prix - Practice Session Two, Getting Ready to Qualify
Indianapolis - RIS - May 11, 2018 - Session two for the Verizon Indy Cars started with much warmer temperatures than the first practice. Teams started working on a more aggressive setup in preparation for this afternoon’s qualifications.
Clearly the new, lower down force package is showing itself as a bit of a handful to drive on the flat but very fast IMS road course. Most all of the drivers are experiencing significant understeer all around the circuit.
Rookie Robert Wickens, driving for Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports jumped to the top of the speed chart with a 1:11.0202, a time nearly four seconds off the track record. There is no question, the “new” car is slower than the older car used the last few years.
Wickens has been very impressive so far this season. He has had two top fives in the first four races and probably should have won the first race of the season at Saint Pete, starting from the pole and getting spun out by Alexander Rossi on the very last lap while leading. This youngster will win a race or two this season.
With about 15 minutes left in the session several teams switched to the “red” option tire from Firestone. This is a slightly softer, tire with a little more grip but a shorter life than the standard “blacks.”
With 10 minutes left things started getting serious with Team Penske’s Will Power jumping to the top at 1:09.8759, and teammate Josef Newgarden 0.3 seconds back.
Understeer continues to be a big issue as the track surface heats up. There is just not much downforce on the front tires.
As the checker flag ended the session, Power maintained the lead followed by rookie Jordan King at 1:09.9122, Alexander Rossi with a 1:09.9806 and Robert Wickens at 1:10.0773.