Ex-F1 driver Chilton 'disappointed' with IndyCar qualifying debut

Max Chilton admits he is "a little bit disappointed" to have qualified 17th for his maiden IndyCar race in St Petersburg

Ex-F1 driver Chilton 'disappointed' with IndyCar qualifying debut

The former Manor Formula 1 driver joins the series this year with Chip Ganassi Racing, and had finished 22nd, 18th and 20th in the season opener's three practice sessions.

REPORT: Power leads all-Penske top four in qualifying

While he was ultimately the fastest rookie and outqualified experienced team-mate Tony Kanaan, Chilton was eliminated at the end of the first phase of qualifying with a time of 1m01.5372s.

"The tyres are the biggest difference," Chilton said.

"I like to think street circuits are my forte so I'm a little bit disappointed.

"IndyCar doesn't make it easy by not give you an extra set of [faster compound] red tyres. That's the way it is."

Fellow F1 refugee Alexander Rossi qualified 19th, Conor Daly - who made a handful of starts last year with Dale Coyne Racing - 21st and Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot 22nd.

Chilton says overnight set-up changes did not work out as he had hoped, and hurt his progress.

"It was a difficult morning," he added.

"We came out with a different car this morning and it didn't work but the change we made was too big to change in practice.

"We went back in qualifying but it had the same balance issues.

"I came out the top rookie - is that a good or a bad thing? I don't know.

"But I guess I didn't do too bad of a job. The race is what counts on Sunday."

What it takes to make it in America

With Kanaan starting 20th, Chilton is aiming to use the Brazilian as a reference point during Sunday's race.

"I want to finish and I want to go forward in the race," he said.

"I've got Tony Kanaan who has been in this for a while and he is my team-mate so I will stick with him and try to work my way forward.

"This is a challenging course and the wind change is pretty strong so you have to keep an eye on that when you are braking.

"Things fly by and before I know it the race will be over on Sunday.

"I just have to do the best I can and can't do much more than that."

Autosport Race Centre Live will bring you full coverage of the season opener from 4:45pm UK time on Sunday.

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