A session to forget for Takuma Sato. The new man at Andretti Autosport failed to put in a lap in Practice 2. The opening minutes of Practice 2 at the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, saw Sato lockup heavily going into T13 and end up in the wall.
Sato was on his outlap when he caused the single car incident and triggered a red flag. He was uninjured.
Sato could not pinpoint the cause of the crash, saying that the team needed to ‘look through the data’. Replays of the incident show a lot of smoke coming from Sato’s tyres heading into T13 and his right front locking up as he tried to ease it through, unfortunately heading straight into the wall.
Possibly mechanical failure from the steering or the brakes or both, judging from the replay.
While the new man at Andretti found things tough, the Chip Ganassi Racing man with new colors, Scott Dixon found clean air and P1 (01m02.5591s) for the second practice session. Besting his P3 showing from the morning.
Chevrolet rebounded nicely in the second practice session with Will Power in the No. 12 Team Penske putting in a 01m02.8416s, good enough for P2. Chevy also had four drivers in the top-10, a +2 improvement from the morning session. Josef Newgarden was P6, Simon Pagenaud was P9, and Carlos Munoz was P10. A drastic improvement for the new A. J. Foyt Enterprise driver from the morning.
Ryan Hunter-Reay had a slow start to Practice 2, not completing a lap until 20 minutes left in the session. Partly due to Sato’s red flag, partly due to setup changes on the No. 28 Honda. Hunter-Reay would finish P16 after lapping only 11 laps.
Other Practice 2 notes, James Hinchcliffe was given a warning for unsafe equipment in the pit box. Conor Daly’s pace failed to improve in Practice 2 as he ended up P20. Tony Kanaan was P3, giving CGR two of the top-three spots.