IndyCar| Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg | Grosjean tops the charts in the opening practice of the season with Andretti Autosport

Romain Grosjean had a solid start to the 2022 NTT IndyCar season making his debut with Andretti Autosport as he set the fastest time for the first practice session on the streets of St. Petersburg Florida.

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IndyCar| Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg | Grosjean tops the charts in the opening practice of the season with Andretti Autosport
Fuente imagen: Chris Jones/Penske Entertainment

It was a strong  first practice session of the 2022 NTT IndyCar season in St. Petersburg Florida for team owner Michael Andretti of Andretti Autosport.  All four drivers including series rookie Devlin DeFrancesco finished in the top 15 out of the 26 car line- up. Andretti Autosport newcomer Romain Grosjean set the fastest lap and teammate Colton Herta trailing in second. The Frenchman’s fastest lap of 1:01.0525 reached a top speed of 106.138

While Herta recorded his best lap time of 1:01.1567 placing him ahead of team Penske veteran driver Will Power’s time of 1:01.2282, Alexander Rossi had a productive day with the sixth fastest time of 1:01. 4750.

Two drivers, who announced their move to different teams during the off season, Simon Pagenaud and Jack Harvey both secured a top 10 result. Former Penske driver Pagenaud placed fourth in his No. 60 Meyer Shank Honda and Harvey, who previously drove for Meyer Shank Racing, was seventh in his No.45 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.  

Making their first IndyCar debut, the six rookies Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport), Callum Ilott (Juncos Hollinger Racing), Kyle Kirkwood ( A.J. Foyt Enterprises), ​​Tatiana Calderón (A.J. Foyt Enterprises) , Christian Lundgaard (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing), and David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsports) completed the first laps of the session. This season also marks the highest number of rookies in the NTT IndyCar series since 2007. 

Malukas was the fastest of the rookie class with a time of 1:01.5889. The Lithuanian-American driver ended the first practice in 10th above  A.J. Foyt’s Kirkwood who finished 12th and Defrancesco in 13th. 

The first practice session ran relatively smoothly with only one incident causing a disruption. Seven time NASCAR cup series champion  Jimmie Johnson brought out  a red flag with nine minutes left in the session.  Heading towards turn 10 Johnson’s rear left tire locked up causing him to go off track while his brakes caught fire. 

All drivers headed back to the pitlane under the red flag. With less than seven minutes left on the clock, the drivers were then able to make their way back out ontrack for the final laps of the session. 

Missing out of the top 15 who had a challenging session struggling to find the  race pace needed for a better result, were six -time IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon who was 19th at 1:01.7747 and 2021 championship contender Pato O’Ward who was 20th at 1:01.8297

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