Scott Dixon took P1 again in Practice 3 and Honda swept the practice podium again. Honda-powered cars ruled Practice 3 in St. Petersburg as the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season starts again with the Firestone Grand Prix.
Dixon took P1 for Chip Ganassi Racing again with a 01m01.6240s effort around the 1.8 mile street circuit. Dixon hasn’t finished outside the top-three this weekend. He managed his best lap on lap 16 of his 18 lap session, potentially showing the durability of the white stripe tyre on long stints.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe took P2 clocking in a 01m01.6660s. The first time Hinchcliffe has seen the podium in practice.
Rounding out the all-Honda practice podium was Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi with a time of 01m01.7015s.
Dixon’s consistent runs in practice bodes well for Honda, who once again occupied eight of the top-10 spots, similar to Friday morning’s Practice 1. Whether this pace by Dixon and Honda will yield positive results in the race is yet to be seen.
Chevrolet’s pace on the red stripe tyres is known to be excellent, which have only made one cameo appearance in practices, thanks to a new rule. When Qualifying starts at 2:55 PM ET today and the Chevys could potentially show the real race pace on the red stripe tyre.
Practice 3 as a whole was thankfully incident-free, as some drivers used the session to practice qualifying runs. A red flag or caution would have impeded the sim runs. However it wasn’t a completely clean session—for the wall—as Dixon and Hinchcliffe, managed to graze the wall and leave tyre markings.
Final practice notes, Graham Rahal lapped the most during the session with 27 complete. On the flip-side, Team Penske’s Will Power and Helio Castroneves completed the least, 13 and 12 laps, respectively. Conor Daly’s miserable weekend continues as he finished last in the session. The Fast Six were swept by Honda, with Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport taking two spots each.