St Petersburg IndyCar: Foyt's rookie Leist leads first practice

AJ Foyt Racing's rookie Matheus Leist topped the first practice session of the 2018 IndyCar season in St Petersburg

St Petersburg IndyCar: Foyt's rookie Leist leads first practice

Leist's team-mate Tony Kanaan had led the way for most of the session on a street course considered unrepresentative due to lack of running and cooler temperatures.

But as more drivers lapped and the track rubbered in, Leist climbed inside the top 10 in the final 15 minutes.

He then set his fastest lap, a 1m01.7231s, in the final two minutes of the first practice.

Dale Coyne Racing's Sebastien Bourdais (pictured below), who won the race last year, put in a last minute lap to go second and was 0.0488 seconds slower than Leist.

Bourdais' time sent the two Andretti cars of Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alexander Rossi into third and fourth after the pair had battled for the top spot in the final 10 minutes.

Hunter-Reay and Rossi were among several drivers from the top three teams of Penske, Andretti and Chip Ganassi Racing who waited for the track to rubber in somewhat before joining.

Ganassi's Scott Dixon was another to take that approach and progressively improved his time through the running to go fifth fastest late on.

Former DTM driver Robert Wickens completed his first session as a full-time IndyCar driver for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in sixth and completed 20 laps, tied for the second most tours.

Penske's Simon Pagenaud was the team's quickest driver, running as high as third before falling to seventh.

Team-mate Will Power was eighth ahead of Kanaan, who caused the only red flag by spinning at the sharp-right Turn 4 following his early leaderboard-topping time.

Spencer Pigot was 10th ahead of Ed Carpenter Racing team-mate Jordan King.

Reigning champion Josef Newgarden could only finish 13th.

Carlin duo Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball were 20th and 21st on the team's IndyCar debut, ahead of last year's Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 Matheus Leist AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m01.7231s - 20
2 Sebastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m01.7719s 0.0488s 15
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m01.8812s 0.1581s 14
4 Alexander Rossi Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m02.0415s 0.3184s 15
5 Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m02.0560s 0.3329s 16
6 Robert Wickens Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m02.1833s 0.4602s 20
7 Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.2162s 0.4931s 16
8 Will Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.3069s 0.5838s 17
9 Tony Kanaan AJ Foyt Enterprises Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.3370s 0.6139s 16
10 Spencer Pigot Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.3565s 0.6334s 14
11 Jordan King Ed Carpenter Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.4112s 0.6881s 15
12 Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m02.4659s 0.7428s 16
13 Ed Jones Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda 1m02.6148s 0.8917s 20
14 Zachary Claman Dale Coyne Racing Dallara/Honda 1m02.7376s 1.0145s 21
15 Josef Newgarden Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet 1m02.7667s 1.0436s 17
16 Zach Veach Andretti Autosport Dallara/Honda 1m02.7902s 1.0671s 20
17 Jack Harvey Michael Shank Racing Dallara/Honda 1m02.8416s 1.1185s 21
18 Marco Andretti Andretti Herta Dallara/Honda 1m02.8843s 1.1612s 14
19 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Dallara/Honda 1m03.0515s 1.3284s 12
20 Max Chilton Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m03.3742s 1.6511s 18
21 Charlie Kimball Carlin Dallara/Chevrolet 1m03.6210s 1.8979s 18
22 Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Dallara/Honda 1m03.6243s 1.9012s 13
23 Gabby Chaves Harding Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m04.1845s 2.4614s 17
24 Rene Binder Juncos Racing Dallara/Chevrolet 1m04.8859s 3.1628s 19


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Matheus Leist
Author Tom Errington
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