AUSTIN, TX – The first session went really well for the Andretti Autosport bunch on Tuesday at the Circuit of the Americas. After the first time on the 3.41-mile track, they had P5-P6-P9-P13 on the speed charts. They were competitive.
But, the second session they actually lost speed in comparison to their competitors. Despite that, they’re not worried about the rest of the test that concludes on Wednesday.
They finished the day P7-P14-P15-P16 respectively.
It’s not a surprise that Alexander Rossi led the way. He took part in the Firestone Tire test last Fall and had the fastest time of the day for the bunch with a lap of 1:48.1216-seconds in his No. 27 Honda.
But, the American warned that Tuesday’s test was actually a lot different than the last time he was on track on the Texas road course.
“I don’t really know yet,” said Rossi on what he learned so far. “It was quite a bit different from the Firestone test because it (the Firestone test) was five days after the F1 weekend. It’s a different track, so we had to make adjustments. We’ll look at the four cars’ data and piece together something for tomorrow.”
Zach Veach was next best in his new Gainbridge colors with being 14th on the timing charts. He led the way for the team this morning with a lap of 1:49.8118-seconds. In the second session, he picked up some time (1:48.5693-seconds) but it wasn’t as much as other drivers improved.
“Overall today was a pretty good start to the 2019 season,” said Veach. “We were P5 this morning and finished 14th this afternoon. We lost some speed that I think we lost as a team and we’ll try to solve that overnight. So far, I really feel good and competitive.”
Marco Andretti was slowest of the drivers but he found out that by slowing down, you actually go faster at COTA. With how technical the track is, you can’t attack is like other places. A mentality change and some changes on his No. 98 Honda overnight should propel him further on the charts on Wednesday.
“The track is fun, it’s technical, but fun,” said Andretti. “You have to be super smooth and know when to attack and when not to because it seems like the slower you drive, the faster you go, as strange as that sounds. I had overboost on my quick lap, but that would have only put me close to the top 10, time-wise. We need to make a fundamental change overnight and get the U.S. Concrete car on top of the timesheets tomorrow.”
The most frustrated driver in the group was Ryan Hunter-Reay. He’s glad to be coming back on Wednesday as he said that was only orientation and that’s about it for him.
“I think today was a good day for track orientation. Other than that, we didn’t find much, so we need to reset everything tonight and go at it fresh tomorrow. We need to find something that I will be comfortable with when pushing the car to 100 percent. Today we didn’t find the balance we needed, so it’s a good thing we have a second day.