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Penske's mixed IndyCar St Petersburg results a 'one-off' - Pagenaud

Penske's mixed start to the 2018 IndyCar season at St Petersburg was a "one-off", according to 2016 title winner Simon Pagenaud

Will Power started from second on the grid but spun at the narrow Turn 2 when challenging Robert Wickens for the lead on the opening lap.

Reigning champion Josef Newgarden ended up as Penske's highest finisher in seventh, with two Andrettis and one Ganassi driver ahead of him. Power went on to finish 10th, with Pagenaud three places further back.

Pagenaud said the St Petersburg result was not concerning for a team aiming for a third consecutive IndyCar title.

"I think it's a one-off, really," he said. "I think we [Penske] had the pace. We all just had different problems.

"We had a [tyre] gun problem on the first pit stop, [when] we were seventh.

"It wasn't bad considering qualifying [Pagenaud started 11th], so we recovered, but then we restarted 20th. It just didn't work."

Power said IndyCar's new universal aerokit was a factor in the result, with the first race with the new designs featuring a high number of overtakes and driver errors.

"For starters, the series is very, very competitive, [there are] just very good guys everywhere," he said.

"You make a mistake and you're going to suffer for it, as you saw today. It's just typical of a spec car, just very good competition.

"There was no expectation to come here and kick everyone's ass. I can tell you that.

"We knew from testing and just from the fact that it's one-make, it's going to be tough."

Newgarden described St Petersburg as a "messy" race after fighting his way up the order from a starting position of 13th.

Having worked his way back inside the top 10, he was forced to make an unscheduled stop after contact with Jack Harvey before recovering to seventh at the flag.

"It was a messy P7 but for us it was a good top 10," he said. "It's a decent start to the year.

"We had a great Chevrolet package - it's just sad we couldn't take better advantage of it.

"We were just fighting all day to catch back up and we were on the wrong end on the fuel mileage and getting run into and cutting the tyre didn't help us.

"But if a couple of things would've gone differently, I really think a podium finish was in the cards for today."

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