2011 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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United States   2011 St. Petersburg
Race details
1st round of the 2011 IndyCar Series season
St. Petersburg street & airport racing circuit.svg
Date March 27, 2011
Official name Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Location Streets of St. Petersburg
Course Temporary street circuit
1.800 mi / 2.897 km
Distance 100 laps, 180.000 mi / 289.682 km
Weather 85 °F (29 °C), scattered clouds
Pole position
Driver Australia Will Power Team Penske
Time 1:01.9625
Fastest lap
Driver Brazil Hélio Castroneves Team Penske
Time 1:03.8683 (on lap 74 of 100)
Podium
First United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing
Second Australia Will Power Team Penske
Third Brazil Tony Kanaan KV Racing TechnologyLotus

The 2011 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was the first race of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season. The race took place on March 27, on the 1.800-mile (2.897 km) temporary street circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida, and was telecast by ABC in the United States.

Report[edit]

Background[edit]

Dario Franchitti began the season as defending champion of the IndyCar Series, after a season-long battle with Will Power in 2010. It was Franchitti's second championship in the past three seasons. (The year he didn't win, 2008, he was racing in NASCAR.) Other contenders for the 2011 championship include Franchitti's Chip Ganassi Racing teammates, Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball, and Graham Rahal, the Penske Racing drivers, Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, and Will Power, among others. Tony Kanaan left Andretti Autosport after the 2010 season and was now piloting the #82 entry for KV Racing TechnologyLotus. Briscoe, Castroneves, Power, and Rahal were all previous winners of the St. Petersburg race.

The race marked the IndyCar debut or return for several drivers, including:

Practice and qualifying[edit]

Race[edit]

The Bay Shore Drive SE section of the race
2011 HVM Entergy sponsored entry on the starting grid for the season opener.

The first Indycar race to use double-file starts and restarts began anything but smoothly. On turn 1 of lap 1, five cars were involved in contact as the drivers fought for position. Helio Castroneves made contact with Marco Andretti's car, who ran up the back of Scott Dixon's machine and flipped upside down. Mike Conway, racing for the first time since last year's Indianapolis 500, was also caught in the pile-up, along with Briscoe. Castroneves, Briscoe, and Dixon would finish the day running, but had no chance for victory. Andretti Autosport took the brunt of the blow, with two of their drivers, Andretti and Conway, being knocked out of the race as a result. On the ensuing restart (lap 5) Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan passed Power to take first and second position respectively.

The yellow flag came out again on lap 7 when E.J. Viso spun off the track, but without making contact, and green flag racing resumed by lap 10. Only two laps later however, the caution came out again for debris on the racetrack, and Sebastian Saavedra spun and stalled on the ensuing restart, bringing out yet another caution. In total, nine of the first 15 laps were run under yellow, leading many drivers and fans to question the new restart system. Will Power briefly regained the lead on lap 71 when Franchitti pitted, but he had to pit himself two laps later, and Franchitti won comfortably by 6.7 seconds. The main point of interest over the final 10 laps was the battle for 3rd place between the veteran Kanaan and second-year driver Simona de Silvestro. Kanaan was able to hold on and gain a podium place for his new team, KV-Lotus, but it was an impressive run by de Silvestro nonetheless.

Classification[edit]

Qualifying[edit]

  • All cars were split into two groups of twelve, with the fastest six from each group going through to the "top 12" session. In this session, the fastest six cars progressed to the "Firestone Fast Six." The fastest driver in the final session claimed pole, with the rest of the cars lining up in session order, regardless of qualifying times. (fast six from 1–6, top 12 from 7–12 and round 1 from 13–24, with group 1 drivers occupying the odd–numbered grid positions, and group 2 drivers occupying the even–numbered grid positions.
Pos No. Driver Team Group 1[1] Group 2[2] Top 12[3] Fast 6[4]
1 12 Australia Will Power Team Penske 1:02.3384 1:02.1878 1:01.9625
2 10 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 1:02.3848 1:02.4136 1:02.2953
3 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 1:02.7788 1:02.4735 1:02.3975
4 27 United Kingdom Mike Conway Andretti Autosport 1:02.8057 1:02.4244 1:02.5306
5 6 Australia Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 1:02.6031 1:02.5737 1:02.5744
6 22 United Kingdom Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:02.9866 1:02.5573 1:02.7729
7 26 United States Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 1:03.0526 1:02.6312
8 82 Brazil Tony Kanaan KV Racing TechnologyLotus 1:02.9362 1:02.7818
9 3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves Team Penske 1:02.6654 1:02.8204
10 77 Canada Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt Motorsports 1:02.9467 1:02.8225
11 5 Japan Takuma Sato KV Racing TechnologyLotus 1:03.0722 1:02.9312
12 38 United States Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing 1:03.1224 1:03.0640
13 14 Brazil Vitor Meira A. J. Foyt Enterprises 1:03.1315
14 28 United States Ryan Hunter–Reay Andretti Autosport 1:03.1778
15 02 Spain Oriol Servià Newman/Haas Racing 1:03.2434
16 17 Brazil Raphael Matos AFS Racing 1:03.2594
17 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro HVM Racing 1:03.2724
18 19 France Sébastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing 1:03.3188
19 7 United States Danica Patrick Andretti Autosport 1:03.3764
20 24 Brazil Ana Beatriz (R) Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1:03.8036
21 59 Venezuela E. J. Viso KV Racing TechnologyLotus 1:03.4065
22 18 United Kingdom James Jakes (R) Dale Coyne Racing 1:03.8854
23 83 United States Charlie Kimball (R) Chip Ganassi Racing 1:03.5162
24 4 United States J. R. Hildebrand (R) Panther Racing 1:03.8256
25 34 Colombia Sebastian Saavedra (R) Conquest Racing 1:03.9696

Race[edit]

Pos No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points
1 10 United Kingdom Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing 100 2:00:59.6886 2 94 52
2 12 Australia Will Power Team Penske 100 + 7.1612 1 6 41
3 82 Brazil Tony Kanaan KV Racing TechnologyLotus 100 + 16.1045 8 0 35
4 78 Switzerland Simona de Silvestro HVM Racing 100 + 16.5616 17 0 32
5 5 Japan Takuma Sato KV Racing TechnologyLotus 100 + 29.9435 11 0 30
6 77 Canada Alex Tagliani Sam Schmidt Motorsports 100 + 30.4655 10 0 28
7 17 Brazil Raphael Matos AFS Racing 100 + 31.5227 16 0 26
8 14 Brazil Vitor Meira A. J. Foyt Enterprises 100 + 35.7291 13 0 24
9 02 Spain Oriol Servià Newman/Haas Racing 100 + 49.1432 15 0 22
10 22 United Kingdom Justin Wilson Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 100 + 56.8025 6 0 20
11 4 United States J. R. Hildebrand (R) Panther Racing 100 + 1:02.9747 24 0 19
12 7 United States Danica Patrick Andretti Autosport 100 + 1:02.9748 19 0 18
13 34 Colombia Sebastian Saavedra (R) Conquest Racing 98 + 2 Laps 25 0 17
14 24 Brazil Ana Beatriz (R) Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 98 + 2 Laps 20 0 16
15 18 United Kingdom James Jakes (R) Dale Coyne Racing 97 + 3 Laps 22 0 15
16 9 New Zealand Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing 96 + 4 Laps 3 0 14
17 38 United States Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing 96 + 4 Laps 12 0 13
18 6 Australia Ryan Briscoe Team Penske 95 + 5 Laps 5 0 12
19 59 Venezuela E. J. Viso KV Racing TechnologyLotus 94 + 6 Laps 21 0 12
20 3 Brazil Hélio Castroneves Team Penske 85 + 15 Laps 9 0 12
21 28 United States Ryan Hunter–Reay Andretti Autosport 58 Handling 14 0 12
22 83 United States Charlie Kimball (R) Chip Ganassi Racing 38 Contact 23 0 12
23 27 United Kingdom Mike Conway Andretti Autosport 1 Contact 4 0 12
24 26 United States Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport 0 Contact 7 0 12
25 19 France Sébastien Bourdais Dale Coyne Racing 0 Did not start 18 0 5
OFFICIAL RACE REPORT

Championship standings after the race[edit]