Pigot fastest, Alonso and Hinchcliffe risk failing to qualify at Indy

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Spencer Pigot was quickest for Ed Carptenter in an intense first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.


Spencer Pigot, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500 qualifying, 2019
Spencer Pigot, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500 qualifying, 2019

The first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 set the nine fastest drivers who will compete for the first three rows, the six slowest drivers who will compete for the final three places on the grid, and the remaining runners who will fight for the places in between. Spencer Pigot is the provisional pole sitter, which could prove valuable as rain is forecast for Sunday.

A frustrated Fernando Alonso was the first of those who failed to make the cut for a guaranteed place in the race. His final run left him 0.02mph slower than Pippa Mann, who failed to qualify for the race 12 months ago. Alonso suffered various setbacks during the day, including a punctured tyre on one run.

James Hinchcliffe is also at risk of failing to make the cut for the race, as happened to him last year. The Schmidt Peterson driver had to switch to his spare car following an earlier crash. Max Chilton, Patricio O’Ward, Sage Karam and Kyle Kaiser are the other four drivers who will contend with Alonso and Hinchcliffe for the final three places on the grid.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Comment of the day

How long is it going to take Lewis Hamilton to get fully up to speed in the Mercedes?

If it is indeed true that he is struggling with the car – finding it difficult rather than natural, Bottas better keep hoping he doesn’t find the sweet spot.

At the moment, its 50/50 in the Mercedes team and a misfortune one way or the other could swing in – If Hamilton finds his comfortable spot and can drive naturally, then it won’t be.

I like Bottas, and I think he is generally very good. But he isn’t Lewis Hamilton good.

There’s still time to join in this weekend’s Caption Competition here:

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to David Craft and Laurie Gregg!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

  • 35 years ago today Patrick Tambay gave Renault pole position for their home race, which was the final French Grand Prix held at Dijon

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

82 comments on “Pigot fastest, Alonso and Hinchcliffe risk failing to qualify at Indy”

  1. Saw this coming. What McLaren is trying to do (on their own) is monumental.

  2. Not a surprise that Alonso, Hinch and O’Ward are on the bubble after crashes during the week. Fernando just hasn’t had the speed in the spare car (From memory it’s a Carlin built road-course car and not 100% oval ready)

    1. @skydiverian The crash didn’t help but they didn’t have much speed with the original car either & have actually gone faster with the spare car than they did the one he crashed.

      At the time he hit the wall he was 29th on a 225.433mph average which was the fastest he’d gone with that car. On his first day with the spare car he’s in now he managed 229.328 (I believe with a tow) which had him 24th at the end of that day & is the fastest he’s gone all week.

      It’s been pretty clear since the first day that Alonso/Mclaren have been in trouble pace wise & were always likely to be at risk of making the field of 33 even in the original car.

    2. O’wards is the carlin road course car. McLaren had 2 chassis one built up for them by Carlin the other built by McLaren themselves in Woking which crashed. although there in “partnership” with carlin some things seem odd about the setup to me.

  3. Another story thats bubbling around at IMS is that a number of the bigger teams are pushing for a rule to be implemented to guarantee those entered for the Indycar full season a starting spot in the 500 even if they fail to qualify on speed.

    Tony George implemented a similar rule after the CART/IRL split & guaranteed the top 25 IRL runners a guaranteed spot in the 1996 500 leaving only 8 open for CART teams. At the time the likes of Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi & Michael/Mario Andretti felt this was ridiculous but now they are fully in favor of doing something similar.

    There is also talk going around about giving them a lot more power next year to go after the lap records which were set in 1996. For reference the records are held by Arie Luyendyk at 239.260mph single lap & 237.498mph 4 lap average. This years fastest are in the 230mph range.

    1. Fair enough. They are doing a full season, why should they be eliminated if they are quick enough? (and just lose out by 1kph…)

      1. If they are set to be eliminated, that would mean they weren’t quick enough.

    2. @gt-racer
      unlike after the split, when this rule was divisive , I’d be ok with it now, in fact i would say it makes sense considering its a double point race in the championship and not competing essentially ruins your whole season, because part timers put you out.

      You should still be massively embarrassed and maybe get some sort of penalty in the race for essentially failing to qualify, but you should still be able to compete, as you would for any other round.

      1. @eurobrun I’d be just as against it now as I was in 1996. Nobody should be guaranteed anything at Indy. If your fast enough then you make the field & if your not then you don’t. The 33 cars that start the Indy 500 should be the fastest 33 cars.

        A one off entry that is able to go faster than a full time team/driver should not be bumped from the field just because somebody that was slower than them happens to be doing the full season. That would make a mockery of the whole process & devalue what it means to even make the field of 33.

        1. @stefmeister
          I totally get your point of view, and half agree with it deep down (nothing like sitting on the fence, lol), but at the same time, if we didn’t have these full time entries keeping the series going thru its darkest moments, there probably would be no Indy 500 anymore, definitely not one with a 33 car field plus bumping. Its still motor racing, with its crazy costs – even in a semi spec series.

          1. @eurobrun I’d argue that during the darker times after 1995 it was the part time entry’s that did more to keep the spirit of the Indy 500 going than any of the full season entrants did. It’s the smaller one off’s who were turning up purely out of passion, love & respect for the place while the big teams entered for full seasons were doing nothing but treating Indy like a political football.

            One of the best stories yesterday was Pippa Mann driving her heart out to make the field having run mistake free all week for a small team entering there first Indycar race running the 500 in honor of Bryan Clauson. If we had guaranteed entry’s she wouldn’t be in the race right now & the brilliant run she put in yesterday that was faster than a few full timers would mean nothing.

            This article raises some additional points with quotes from a few drivers.

  4. Roberto Giacometti (@schemo27optusnet-com-au)
    19th May 2019, 1:33

    Is it just me , or are those Indy cars fugly??

    1. pastaman (@)
      19th May 2019, 7:23

      It’s just you.

    2. Yeah they’re ugly.

    3. After FE they are the nicest looking single seaters.

    4. Easily the best looking open wheel cars on earth.

    5. F1oSaurus (@)
      19th May 2019, 17:19

      Agreed they look ridiculous. About as bad as FE cars.

    6. I think they look so much more like “real” race cars than current F1 cars. Maybe it’s the absence of halo.

    7. That’s an ultra low drag oval spec car. Take a look at the road course aero on a car and then give your opinion again.

    8. Do you prefer tea-trays, phallic noses and toilet seat over your head?

  5. I’m pretty sure that McLaren-Alonso contract isn’t going to last past the 500 like Zak thought it would. They have once again failed to provide him a car capable of qualifying near the front, much less winning a race. Alonso was fuming during qualifying today. I surprised we didn’t hear “GP2 chassis!”

    1. NeverElectric
      19th May 2019, 2:10

      I thought Alonso was this super-brilliant driver who can make miracles happen even with a midfield car? Isn’t that what his fans say all the time? Well, he’s got the team to himself, he’s the main man, he’s “best in the world”, but can’t even get among the top 30 at Indy?

      1. If you put Senna in a slow car that has no pace, do you expect him to turn it into a winner? You only have to look at what Alonso did with the dog F1 McLaren cars to see that while he is worth a lot as a driver and gets more out of a car than almost anyone, he by himself cannot gain speed that isn’t there to be gained.

        1. NeverElectric
          19th May 2019, 4:59

          Excuses all over the place. He’s not very good at all, that’s it. Drove his car into the wall, just proves the point. 🤣🤣

          1. @NeverElectric there is only one word to describe your type… Dumbass !

          2. I’d imagine everyone in the field has hit the wall at some time, Indy can bite the best.

        2. @jblank, the problem seems to be that you’re trying to put forward a rational argument to somebody who seems to have an irrational hatred of Alonso – as the old saying goes, his prejudices weren’t reasoned into him in the first place and therefore cannot be reasoned out of him. I do get the impression that NeverElectric probably doesn’t have much knowledge about the IndyCar series, and probably does not care to know anything given it makes it easier for him to throw abuse that way.

          1. Very much like you with Hamilton, anon.

      2. After five races in ‘18:
        Alonso – 32pts

        After five races in ‘18:
        Sainz & Norris combined – 22pts

        Nuff said.

        1. Oh come on, you must know that comparison is ridiculous.

          1. Could you explain why it’s ridiculous? I’m all ears..

      3. I’m not really a fan of Alonso but he CAN and has well in the past with a midfield car, unfortunately for him and his army of fans is that this McLaren is nowhere near midfield …. you can’t blame him for that.

        1. sorry, should read “has done well”

        2. F1oSaurus (@)
          19th May 2019, 17:22

          Froggy, You mean that race in Singapore 2008 which he won in a midfield Renault? That was impressive yes.

          Impressive not so much in the sens that he won that race, but that he got away completely scott free for that massive cheat.

      4. You haven’t a clue. No driver can hustle a car around Indy, the speed is either there or not.
        At least hes trying, snowflakes like Ham and Vet would have probably crashed and killed themselves after the first lap!

    2. Alonso pretty much blames everyone and ecverything (including the sport) but himself when things go wrong.

      Next thing he will say the Indy 500 have lost its soul and no lonfer interest him.

  6. Sad that the best driver in the world is struggling. McLaren have been naive (what’s new)

    1. Best driver in the worl at playing burraco?

  7. LOL at the Whyte tweet. 😊

    What’s with the Brazilian president wanting Petrobras to renege on their sponsorship deal? Is that so he/they can fund the GP in Rio?

    1. @phylyp, it is indeed possible that could be the real underlying motive – the head of Petrobras had indicated in the past that they might not renew their contract with McLaren, with the suggestion that they were being “encouraged” by the government to spend more on national events instead. It does seem that there might well be an increase in spending in the state of Rio, which just so happens to be Bolsonaro’s power base – it might well be that, if Bolsonaro forces through his plans to move the race to Deodoro, there might be political pressure on Petrobras to pick up the bill.

      1. Thank you, anon, that’s very useful context.

        I’m torn – on the one hand, I can understand the rationale behind ensuring that a majority state-owned entity’s marketing funds are directed closer home, on the other hand, from what little I know of the Brazilian president (incl. your comment), his motives behind any such decision aren’t exactly lily white.

  8. I agree with the COTD. I hope for Bottas to win the WDC, but I feel it’s going to go to his teammate again. I just have that feeling he’s eventually going to edge out as the better of the two in the end.

  9. ColdFly (@)
    19th May 2019, 9:43

    Can somebody explain what’s funny about the quote in the SamVP tweet?

    1. @coldfly – I could very well be mistaken, but I think it’s the implication that the W-series racers can’t drive (or can’t drive fast cars) in the statement “can learn how to drive with the fast car”.

      1. You could be correct, @phylyp.
        But not sure if that would make the announcement ‘funny’ or merely shows the stupidity (prejudice? ignorance?) of the tweeter.
        I doubt he would tweet something like that if during the Barcelona young driver test the commentator had said: “These drivers can learn how to drive with the fast car, and maybe one day we will see one of them in an F1 race seat”.

        1. @coldfly – Fair point, it’s not very clear what is the amusing part in that announcement.

        2. @coldfly @phylyp “Funny” in English can mean “strange” or “odd”, as well as its usual meaning of “amusing”. It is quite an ambiguous word.

          1. And it can mean even more than that, @alianora-la-canta.
            But still don’t understand why it’s funny, funny, or funny.

          2. @coldfly I thought it was a really strange, odd comment because to get to W Series, it is necessary to have already demonstrated the ability to drive a fast car to the satisfaction of a judging panel. People do not generally expect to have to be taught to do something they have already shown they can do.

    2. Because the fact that WSeries is not having a clear path to F1 like Super License points?

      1. @ruliemaulana – I didn’t know the W-Series doesn’t give their drivers super licence points. Wow, that’s interesting.

        1. @phylyp Maybe FIA just afraid of backlash if they had to decide how many super license points W-Series should earn. More than Nascar? Less than F3?

          1. @ruliemaulana – makes sense. They’re probably thinking let it take off, let it come around for a second season, and then they can formalize something, rather than do everything on day 1.

          2. The FIA could hide behind the argument that W-series is not open to everybody (i.e. men(, and based on that not award Super License points.
            Good excuse to stay away from the endless discussion of how many points would be correct.
            @ruliemaulana, @phylyp

          3. @ruliemaulana @phylyp The series hadn’t run at all at the point where the last points allocation redistribution happened. The FIA will presumably want to see how things go this year, where the skill level of successful drivers in the series fits into series currently awarding Superlicence points, its psuedopolitical position at that moment, and what its stance is regarding the organisers before deciding on what (if any) points to issue going forward. (Note that if any points are issued, they’d be retrospective onto this year’s competitors).

        2. I think it’s because currently, it’s such a short series, only being 6 events. So it’s kind of like a side-event for the drivers who are then competing in a full season series as well (although I don’t know how many of them are) that gives super licence points. Maybe if in coming years it becomes 12 or so races, and once the series is more established, maybe then points will be available.

  10. How long does it take for Fernando to say that Indycar is a cr@ppy series with no meritocracy at all and that he is going to look for other more interesting challenges?
    Countdown has started.

    1. If he’d taken a “crappy series” seriously and run the whole season with a good team I doubt this would be happening. Perhaps he wanted to avoid being hosed on road/street circuits by a number of F1 worthy drivers drivers ?

      1. He should do the entire season next year and I’d say he’d have an excellent chance of winning.
        He’s not regarded as the best driver since Schumacher for nothing.

        1. Sure he could win, and I hope he does, but in the battle of 37 year olds + I’d put my money on Scott Dixon anytime. :)

        2. Who regards him as such? Roebuck perhaps, maybe Di Montezemolo. He is indeed a great racer … shame about his attitude and off-track politics.

          Best driver? Yeah, no. He couldn’t take being beaten by his rookie teammate, so threw his career in the toilet, all by himself. Demanding that your team run your teammate out of fuel in a race is abysmally shameful behaviour.

  11. Thank you, @keithcollantine for comment of the day.

    1. Congratulations, @sham 😊

  12. I was watching the indy500 qualifying yesterday and the mclaren was terrible, the lack of Indy experience in the team really showed the lack of how to set up a car properly. They couldn’t remove the oversteer so Alonso was having to turn right on some corners to stop it spinning off, which scrubbed off speed. I don’t know why they never brought two race spec cars to the event, it’s killed all chances of a result.

  13. After his multi-year experience with McLaren building “formula” cars, I can’t understand how he agreed to race their car in Indy 500 2019.

    He will probably wrestle it to the last spot on the grid, but after the race his McLaren story will surely come to the definite end.

    I have never been a fan of his, but I still think it will be nice if he finds other team/car to try Indy 500 again in 2020.

    1. @dallein Nobody but McLaren wanted him in their team in F1, so possibly the case also in Indy Car.

  14. “I can’t understand how he agreed to race their car in Indy 500 2019”
    Very silly, probably drunk on the attention he received last year, remember that even his orientation sessions were news, thought it would be easy, which it pretty my much was when he jumped into one of ‘Michael’s cars’.

  15. @I wish we could edit (last in thread) posts…

  16. Damn, rain, weather radar looks like there could clearing later, but can they get the track dry.

  17. I assume it was the best drive Alonso has ever done despite not qualifying in.

  18. Electroball76
    19th May 2019, 20:19

    So Pippa is faster than you, can you confirm you understood that message?​

  19. Oh dear…He’s out.
    Beaten by a kid from Cali.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      19th May 2019, 22:14

      McLaren has turned into a brand sadly not accustomed to being at the front of any grid.

  20. Alonso fails again in his vanity project.

  21. Such a shame THE world’s best driver since Schumacher has missed out. But this is down to McLaren’s incompetence not GOAT Alonso!

  22. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    19th May 2019, 22:17

    Well, that’s the first let down of the day. I guess I may go fishing after the Monaco GP now. A Raptors win will help though and Game of Thrones tonight with ice cream and pizza will help as well.;)

    1. Ooops don’t think the GOT finale will lift your spirits!

  23. It’s almost as if the troglodyte Americans know what they’re doing, and it’s a little bit harder to make these cars turn left than the engineering sweethearts Britain’s motorsport valley would like to believe.

    There’s significant scuttlebutt among those in and around the IndyCar paddock that McLaren showed up a day late and a dollar short on all fronts, to the extent that their engine supplier wasn’t particularly concerned with providing them much additional support because they had failed to do the bare minimum to even appear competitive before showing up.

  24. On the bright side I was tremendously impressed with Danica Patrick in the booth .
    She’s ‘been there’ doing a one off and her insight was illuminating to say the least, talked about the mental aspects and real smart on the tech side too.

    1. I think she’s had some coaching on ‘personality’…

  25. Well that’s embarrassing for Mclaren, for Fernando, for Bob Fernley and for the sponsors who signed up just for the Indy 500 exposure.

    What a horribly mismanaged project.

Comments are closed.