Colton Herta, Andretti, St Petersburg, IndyCar, 2021

Herta pips Harvey to pole, Power 20th in St Petersburg

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In the round-up: Colton Herta will start the second round of the IndyCar season today from pole position.

In brief

Herta and Harvey claim IndyCar front row

Colton Herta secured the fifth pole position of his IndyCar career in St Petersburg, coming within four-tenths of a second setting a sub-minute time around the 2.89-kilometre street course. The Andretti driver will be joined on the front row by Meyer Shank’s Jack Harvey, who equalled his best starting position in IndyCar.

A pair of champions will line up behind them: Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud. But one of the shocks of the session saw their team mate Will Power, who was aiming for his 10th pole position at the track, eliminated in the first round. The runner-up last weekend will line up 20th.

Sebastien Bourdais will start fifth ahead of Barber pole-winner Pato O’Ward. Unlike the other five drivers in the Fast Six, the McLaren SP racer opted for the black ‘primary’ tyres instead of softer red ‘alternates’.

Barber race winner Alex Palou took 10th on the grid, two places behind team mate Scott Dixon. Among the rookie contingent Scott McLaughlin starts 14th, Romain Grosjean 18th and Jimmie Johnson 23rd of the 24 cars.

Verschoor on top in F2 test

Richard Verschoor, who started the 2021 Formula 2 season on a temporary basis with the MP team, led the times on the second of three days of testing at Circuit de Catalunya. His best time of 1’28.280 put him almost two-tenths of a second ahead of the Campos of Ralph Roschung.

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Social media

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Comment of the day

Formula E was widely pilloried for the farcical end to yesterday’s race at Valencia:

The meat of the sandwich was good, I really enjoyed some of the racing… but… the start behind the safety car and the end were both ridiculous. On the start, these are professional racing drivers, for what reason is the race starting behind the Safety Car because of a wet track? Not a good decision as Chandhok also mentioned on commentary.

With regards the end, the official Formula E said it was about energy management but it wasn’t at all, it was just pure luck. Had the last Safety Car not appeared, they would have all got to the end (well maybe not Nato, he wouldn’t have made it again). It was ridiculous for an FIA series.

Then finally, during the race Da Costa could move away from De Vries using his Fanboost. How can something that is meant to be a serious racing series have such an awful idea. It’s mickey mouse, we’re seven years in now! I don’t expect Formula E to be F1, of course not, but it would be nice if it could be taken seriously – especially as some of the racing is so enjoyable.
@John-H

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On this day in F1

  • 20 years ago today five-times grand prix winner and 1985 Formula 1 championship runner-up Michele Alboreto died in a crash while testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzring

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  • 6 comments on “Herta pips Harvey to pole, Power 20th in St Petersburg”

    1. On the up side, I haven’t seen this many tweets about a Formula E race in a long long time.
      (Full disclosure: I don’t watch it FE)

    2. I just watched the summary of the FE race, and I didn’t understand the situation of the last lap. Is the race not a fixed distance? Also, that chicane at the end of the lap must be the most ridiculous corner I have ever seen on a race track, maybe with the exception of the tyre barrier at the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix.

      1. It’s a fixed time actually, 45 min + 1 lap (once time is elapsed, they have one more lap to go).
        As the serie focus on energy management, they reduce available energy when there is a SC by 1 kWh per min of SC. Unclear if this amount is fixed or if race control can adjust depending on the energy consumption at the track. And if energy used during SC is “free” or not, they could freeze used energy once they start the SC period. This might have big impact as the extreme case is 45min behind safety car, or -45kWh on the 54 kWh total, which means 9kWh to complete 45min of running at reduced speed + 1 lap, which might point to energy management being even more important for SC impacted races.
        Yesterday showed an unusual amount of SC (5) and might show the limit of the system. I think the approach is right but the execution not quite. Also strange not to have decimals, rounding one way or the other 5 times might lead to very big difference at the end.

    3. Thanks for the COTD. As well as the race, I really enjoyed Alesici’s and SaMa’s @f1g33k analysis on yesterday’s article here. FE is on the right track thinking about energy consumption for sure, they just need to refine these calculations a little better, but it will come in time and they will learn from this for sure.

      The good news is the series is getting better in many ways and I’m definitely looking forward to watching the race today.

      1. I agree with this. It is still, all things considered, quite a new series. F1 didn’t have a particularly smooth first 7 seasons (didn’t even run to F1 regs for 2 of them), so I can forgive FE in some aspects of this. I think they are heading in the right direction and a few minor changes can be made to it to improve the product a lot. In the same way 2005 led to changes to the tire philosophy of F1 (for better or worse, you decide, but the 2005 rules had huge flaws) and the Qualifying sessions becoming the 3 stage system we have now (yeah that was the year of Aggregate Qualifying). A few changes to the rules mainly regarding Safety Cars and perhaps Fanboost and I think it has great potential.

    4. Formula E has so much potential yet it continually squanders it & hinders it’s ability to grow because of the Mario Kart gimmicks, Mostly awful circuits, Dumb rules & absurd amount of penalties which mean you simply ignore the results of every session for a few hours as you know they will more than likely change.

      Drop the gimmicks & the silly rules and just let the drivers race because underneath all of that unnecessary nonsense the actual racing can be pretty good.

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