The Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya got the victory on the first race of the Verizon IndyCar Series 2015 season at the Saint Petersburg circuit. The Penske driver is the leader of the championship ahead of Will Power and Tony Kanaan.
The race started with the first two rows occupied by the Team Penske. At the start, Power (Team Penske) kept the lead, while his teammates drove in parallel to the first turn. Castroneves (Team Penske) was 2nd followed by Pagenaud (Team Penske). Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) went wide in turn 1. Luca Filippi (CFH Racing) and Jack Hawksworth (A.J. Foyt Enterprises) had contact and broke their front wings, which brought a yellow flag and the pace car.
After the pace car period, Montoya (Team Penske) overtook Sato (A.J. Foyt Enterprises) for 4th place. Bourdais did the same with Kanaan for 6th. Power led comfortably ahead.
The pitstops started in lap 17. Hinchcliffe, Muñoz and Hunter-Reay were the first ones. Huertas (Dale Coyne Racing) had to retire after experiencing some problems in his Honda. More problems for the Andretti team, as Muñoz and De Silverstro (Andretti Autosport) crashed, which made the Colombian make a pitstop again. Dixon had problems in his pitstop which made him lose a lap. Pagenaud was the last diver stopping.
In lap 30, after another yellow flag period, Power was first followed by Castroneves, Hawksworth, Pagenaud and Montoya. The teams had problems with the front wings manufacturing and all the broken parts will cost them a lot of money. Sato had to use one of the front wings of the Dale Coyne team. Marco Andretti (Andretti Autosport) and Gabby Chaves (Bryan Herta Autosport) crashed and provoked another yellow flag.
Green flag in lap 37 and the Top 8 was dominated by Chevrolet. The peace ended after 10 laps when De Silvestro had a collision with James Jakes (Schmidt Peterson Motorsport) in the last turn. Kassan and Pagenaud also collided and caused the fifth yellow flag of the day.
The Penskes of Montoya and Power were fighting for the lead, far from the others. Hawksworth overtook Karam and Kanaan got Castroneves’ 3rd place, as he was saving fuel. After the third stop, Montoya was ahead of Power, while Pagenaud got closer to Bourdais and overtook him on the outside.
Power was right behind Montoya 15 laps before the end. He tried to overtake him but didn’t succeed and, moreover, damaged his front wing. This didn’t make him retire from the race, but his pace didn’t allow him to get the Colombian again. Simona de Silvestro crashed again, this time against Kimball, ending his race.
Victory for Juan Pablo Montoya, the first of the season. He’s leading the championship 7 points ahead of Power and Kanaan, who completed the podium. Chevrolet has dominated the first 6 positions, 4 of which were Penske. Next race will take place in the new NOLA Motorsports Park, in the New Orleans Grand Prix.
|1||2||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske||110 Laps|
|2||1||Will Power||Team Penske||+ 0,993|
|3||10||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 11,168|
|4||3||Hélio Castroneves||Team Penske||+ 11,437|
|5||22||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||+ 12,390|
|6||11||Sébastien Bourdais||KV Racing Technology||+ 16,492|
|7||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||+ 27,710|
|8||41||Jack Hawksworth||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||+ 34,920|
|9||20||Luca Filippi (R)||CFH Racing||+ 38,156|
|10||27||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||+ 38,691|
|11||15||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||+ 40,389|
|12||67||Josef Newgarden||CFH Racing||+ 51,771|
|13||14||Takuma Sato||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||+ 52,268|
|14||26||Carlos Muñoz||Andretti Autosport||+ 56,721|
|15||9||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 59,661|
|16||5||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||+ 62,458|
|17||98||Gabby Chaves (R)||Bryan Herta Autosport||+ 63,066|
|18||25||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport||+ 1 Lap|
|19||8||Sage Karam (R)||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 1 Lap|
|20||4||Stefano Coletti||KV Racing Technology||+ 1 Lap|
|21||83||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||+ 10 Laps|
|22||7||James Jakes||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||+ 0,000|
|23||19||Francesco Dracone (R)||Dale Coyne Racing||Mechanical|
|24||18||Carlos Huertas||Dale Coyne Racing||Mechanical|