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St Petersburg IndyCar: Juan Pablo Montoya being cautious on return

Juan Pablo Montoya, Penske, St Petersburg IndyCar 2014

Juan Pablo Montoya says that he is playing himself into his street course comeback slowly after finishing Friday's IndyCar practice sessions in St Petersburg in 14th and 18th respectively.

The Colombian is preparing to race on a street course for the first time since he left Formula 1 for NASCAR in 2006, and said that he had expected a low-key start to the weekend.

"Obviously we wanted to be a little further up the speed charts, but we knew it was going to be a learning process," he said.

"This is my first time on this circuit so we had to guess a little bit on the set-ups. Unfortunately we unloaded [the car] pretty far off.

"In the second session we picked up a big understeer. At that point we really quit focusing on speed and just tried to get the car driving better.

"I learned quickly that there are places on the track where the penalty of missing it is much greater than the gain, so from a track-learning perspective I'm much better off than I was when I got here."

Montoya's Penske team-mates Will Power and Helio Castroneves enjoyed stronger starts, with Power finishing fourth- and third-fastest to be the top Chevrolet-powered driver in both sessions.

2012 St Pete winner Castroneves improving from 11th in the morning session to fourth in the afternoon.

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