Felix Rosenqvist took a dominant IndyCar pole position for Arrow McLaren SP on the Indianapolis road course, while his countryman and championship leader Marcus Ericsson will start dead last.
Rosenqvist was seventh in the morning practice and went relatively under the radar in qualifying until he notched a lap almost three tenths of a second better than the opposition, the likes of which is rarely seen on this track, especially as IndyCar visits it twice a year.
Perfect, perfect, perfect. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/GQYEUfJh97
— Arrow McLaren SP (@ArrowMcLarenSP) July 29, 2022
Fellow Swede Ericsson produced the biggest drama of the session as he stopped out on track before he or anyone else in the second group of qualifying could set a time.
He stopped at Turn 7 as the Ganassi car shut down as a precaution, and he’ll start 25th, as his closest championship rivals all start in the top seven. His Ganassi team opted to change his engine after qualifying.
Ericsson does have form for coming back from adversity here, having received a penalty in the road course race earlier this year, gone to the back of the pack before coming back to finish fourth, and then next time out he promptly won the Indy 500.
Still, it’s not how he wanted to begin his first weekend back at the Brickyard since the 500 win, where he was wearing his winner’s ring in the paddock and has the Borg Warner Trophy pictured on a special helmet paint scheme.
Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi – who will join Rosenqvist’s Arrow McLaren SP team next year – beat Pato O’Ward to split the McLaren entries and dived into second in qualifying, as O’Ward overcame frustrations earlier in the session to start on the second row.
O’Ward’s car was so loose in the early stages of qualifying he asked for the rear anti-roll bar to be disconnected, and he replied with expletives when the reply was that it wasn’t possible.
Will Power’s quest to tie Mario Andretti’s IndyCar pole record will have to wait at least another race as he led Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden to round out the top five.
Newgarden won the first race at Iowa last weekend then crashed after a suspected broken shock in the second. He was then hospitalised after falling in the paddock and was only finally cleared to qualify at Indianapolis on Friday morning ahead of the session.
Christian Lundgaard shocked the IndyCar paddock on his debut at this track last year where he took fourth. This time he gave his best qualifying performance of this season and rounded out the Fast Six.
Alex Palou – in the news this week as it was revealed he is being sued by his own Ganassi team – was the first driver to miss out on the Fast Six by 0.0269s, but is the only one of his team starting in the top 20.
Rinus VeeKay and Colton Herta – both race winners at this track with Herta winning in the wet earlier this year – took eighth and ninth, with Herta criticising “inconsistent tyres”, adding it’s “not the car’s fault”.
Conor Daly rounded out the top 10 at a track he has qualified well at recently, also discussing the inconsistency of the Firestone tyres, ahead of rookie David Malukas and Simon Pagenaud.
Scott McLaughlin also missed out on graduating from the first group by 0.1156s, and starts 15th, but perhaps has the one positive that the red soft tyres are expected to be the favoured rubber tomorrow, and through not making it further in qualifying McLaughlin has two fresh sets to use.
Scott Dixon and Romain Grosjean joined McLaughlin towards the back of the grid, starting 20th and 22nd respectively.
Dixon said “I don’t know what we were thinking” as he lamented his strategy of running the two tyres, but says it gives him an option to be “super aggressive” on an alternate strategy.
That’s three races at this track starting 20th or worse from Dixon.
Grosjean suffered through practice and qualifying with an apparent brake issue, and he said on the radio “we can’t keep going like this”.
Grosjean – who enters this race 14th in the points – took his first IndyCar pole at this track last season and a pair of second places, but both of those finishes came having started in the top three and this time he’ll start 22nd.
|1||Felix Rosenqvist||Arrow McLaren SP||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m10.122s||1m10.078s||1m10.226s|
|2||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.384s||1m10.129s||1m10.503s|
|3||Patricio O'Ward||Arrow McLaren SP||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m10.608s||1m10.157s||1m10.609s|
|4||Will Power||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m10.561s||1m10.027s||1m10.622s|
|5||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m10.424s||1m10.115s||1m10.696s|
|6||Christian Lundgaard||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.771s||1m10.18s||1m10.728s|
|7||Alex Palou||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.378s||1m10.207s|
|8||Rinus VeeKay||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m10.182s||1m10.31s|
|9||Colton Herta||Andretti Autosport with Curb-Agajanian||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.164s||1m10.353s|
|10||Conor Daly||Ed Carpenter Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m10.382s||1m10.513s|
|11||David Malukas||Dale Coyne Racing with HMD Motorsport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.623s||1m10.563s|
|12||Simon Pagenaud||Meyer Shank Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.791s||1m10.762s|
|13||Jack Harvey||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.856s|
|14||Devlin DeFrancesco||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.707s|
|15||Scott McLaughlin||Team Penske||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m10.906s|
|16||Hélio Castroneves||Meyer Shank Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.756s|
|17||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.909s|
|18||Takuma Sato||Dale Coyne Racing with RWR||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.827s|
|19||Callum Ilott||Juncos Hollinger Racing||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m11.119s|
|20||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m10.893s|
|21||Kyle Kirkwood||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m11.215s|
|22||Romain Grosjean||Andretti Autosport||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m11.024s|
|23||Jimmie Johnson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda||1m11.771s|
|24||Dalton Kellett||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||Dallara DW12-Chevrolet||1m12.006s|
|25||Marcus Ericsson||Chip Ganassi Racing||Dallara DW12-Honda|