St. Petersburg starting lineup: Romain Grosjean on pole, Colton Herta second
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Romain Grosjean earned his second career IndyCar pole position, besting Andretti Autosport teammate Colton Herta for the top spot in the starting lineup for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete.
The Frenchman turned a lap of 59.553 seconds in the No. 28 Dallara-Honda around the 14-turn, 1.8-mile street course through the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.
“We worked really hard on the car,” Grosjean told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Same as last year, we were really good at the end of the year. We got here, and I said to the boys, ‘Yeah, we’ve got something.’ We pulled it out.”
The Formula One veteran, whose last pole came nearly two years ago as a rookie on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, is entering his second full season in IndyCar after finishing a disappointing 13th in the points standings last year with Andretti Autosport.
“I knew last year something was just not coming my way,” said Grosjean, who celebrated with his three children and wife (the family relocated from Europe to Miami more than a year ago). “We worked hard, and we found something.
QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for St. Petersburg qualifying speeds | Round 1, Group 1 | Round 1, Group 2 | Round 2 l Round 3
“It’s kind of a home race. We’ve got 100 laps tomorrow to make it happen.”
Family. ❤️ @RGrosjean celebrated winning the pole with his wife and kids. #INDYCAR pic.twitter.com/IuZKZbs7cV
— INDYCAR on NBC (@IndyCaronNBC) March 4, 2023
Herta qualified second (59.687 seconds) and was nearly a half-second off the pace in an uncharacteristically poor final lap.
“On that last lap, I was useless as gum on a boot heel,” Herta, who won from the pole position at St. Pete in 2021, told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “We’re still in a great spot. It’s a pole we definitely could have gotten. I just made a mess of the lap.”
Pato O’Ward qualified third for Arrow McLaren in the fastest performance by a Chevrolet.
“Man, those Andretti cars are quick around here,” O’Ward told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “We knew that coming in the weekend. The (McLaren) team arrived with such a good package. Last year, we truly started on the back foot. We’ve got a car to fight with (Sunday). I’m really, really happy with it.”
Marcus Ericsson qualified fourth, followed by Kyle Kirkwood, who crashed in Turn 10 on his first lap, and defending race winner Scott McLaughlin, who went off course early in trying for his second consecutive pole at St. Pete.
Kirkwood was confident after nerfing the Turn 10 wall because of a tailwind.
“It’s a little bit sketch, and I got around the corner and couldn’t get the tire to get unlocked,” he said. “Disappointed. It’s less than ideal. Ultimately, we’re in the Fast Six with three cars (for Andretti). Definitely happy with that.”
Here’s the IndyCar starting lineup for Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on a 14-turn, 1.8-mile street course (qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed):
1. Romain Grosjean
2. Colton Herta
3. Pato O’Ward
4. Marcus Ericsson
5. Kyle Kirkwood
6. Scott McLaughlin
7. Alex Palou
8. Felix Rosenqvist
9. Scott Dixon
10. Will Power
11. Christian Lundgaard
12. Alexander Rossi
13. Marcus Armstrong
14. Josef Newgarden
15. Helio Castroneves
16. David Malukas
17. Santino Ferrucci
18. Devlin DeFrancesco
19. Jack Harvey
20. Graham Rahal
21. Augustin Canapino
22. Callum Ilott
23. Sting-Ray Robb
24. Rinus VeeKay
25. Simon Pagenaud
26. Conor Daly
27. Benjamin Pedersen
St. Petersburg starting lineup: Romain Grosjean on pole, Colton Herta second originally appeared on NBCSports.com