Spaniard continues to impress at the Brickyard; Ex-F1 driver Sebastien Bourdais sets the pace
By William Esler
Last Updated: 20/05/17 12:55am
Fernando Alonso rounded off an impressive week of practice for the Indianapolis 500 with another fourth place finish.
Friday’s running was badly affected by caution periods, with over half of the six-hour practice session lost. Bad weather was a particular issue with a two-hour stoppage due to a lightning storm.
With the teams allowed to turn the engines up further for “Fast Friday”, Alonso’s average lap speed of 231.827 mph was over 6 mph faster than his fastest lap the previous day. Translated into lap time, Alonso’s 38.8220 seconds completion of the 2.5 mile course was over a second quicker than he had managed the previous day.
Alonso was also an impressive fifth on the ‘no tow list’, suggesting his car is quick not just in traffic, but also on its own which will be crucial when the drivers take to the track by themselves during qualifying. The Spaniard spent the final part of the session working on his low-downforce setup.
However, Alonso didn’t feel as if he was going much faster.
“Not really,” said the Spaniard when asked if he’d noticed the power difference from the previous day.
“I think at the end of the day when you’re driving the car you don’t realize if you are six or seven miles (per hour) faster; you always want an extra mile to be able to go faster. Today was obviously a little bit stressful with the rain coming and we tried to fit as many laps as possible in the (early afternoon).
“Yes, we managed to fit another two (qualifying-simulation) runs late in the day. We’re quite happy. It was another day of learning those extra speeds and hopefully tomorrow we have a good (qualifying run).”
Former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Bourdais was quickest on ‘Fast Friday’ for Dale Coyne Racing with an average lap speed of 233.116 mph – the only man to break through the 233 mph barrier. His time was two tenths of a second quicker than Alonso’s.
“There’s never a bad day when you’re at the front,” said Bourdais.
“Definitely happy with the way things turned out. The car felt good. We tried a couple of things and finished the session really happy with the speed and the car balance. Hopefully it stays that way.
Alonso’s Andretti Autosport team-mates Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay were second and third quickest as Honda power continued to dominate at the Brickyard.
Following Friday practice the random draw was made for the qualifying running order, with McLaren’s Zak Brown pulling out number 33 for Alonso’s main car and number eight for his backup car.
As for the British contingent, Jay Howard was eighth quickest on Friday (231.225 mph), Max Chilton 18th (230.636 mph), Pippa Mann 21st (230.103 mph) and Jack Harvey 25th (228.426 mph)
Indy 500 Friday Practice Timesheet
Position Driver Team Engine Speed (mph) Time (secs) 1. Sebastian Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Honda 233.116 38.7064 2. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 232.132 38.7711 3. Takuma Sato Andretti Autosport Honda 231.969 38.7983 4. Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda Andretti Honda 231.827 38.8220 5. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet 231.682 38.8463 6. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 231.517 38.8740 7. Mikhail Aleshin Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 231.447 38.8858 8. Jay Howard Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 231.255 38.9181 9. Ed Jones Dale Coyne Racing Honda 231.252 38.9185 10. Alexander Rossi Andretti Herta Autosport Honda 231.191 38.9288 11. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 231.054 38.9519 12. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 231.016 38.9584 13. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 230.982 38.9640 14. Oriol Servia Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 230.887 38.9801 15. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 230.769 39.0000 16. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 230.717 39.0088 17. Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 230.712 39.0097 18. Max Chilton Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 230.636 39.0225 19. JR Hildebrand Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 230.627 39.0241 20. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 230.335 39.0735 21. Pippa Mann Dale Coyne Racing Honda 230.103 39.1130 22. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 230.007 39.1292 23. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 229.973 39.1350 24. Josef Newgarden Team Penske Chevrolet 228.624 39.3660 25. Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda 228.426 39.4001 26. Sage Karam Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet 228.159 39.4462 27. Carlos Munoz A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 227.956 39.4813 28. Conor Daly A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 227.225 39.6083 29. Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Chevrolet 227.168 39.6182 30. Zach Veach A. J. Foyt Enterprises Chevrolet 227.082 39.6333 31. Sebastian Saavedra Juncos Racing Chevrolet 226.224 39.7835 32. Spencer Pigot Juncos Racing Chevrolet 226.170 39.7931 33. Buddy Lazier Lazier Racing Partners Honda 219.640 40.9761
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