Sunday, 24 March 2013

Hinchcliffe Takes Maiden Win In St. Pete

James Hinchcliffe scored his breakthrough IZOD IndyCar Series race win at St. Petersburg in Florida. The Canadian started fourth on the grid, ahead of 2012 race winner Helio Castroneves. Australia's Will Power once again took pole.

Power rocketed away at the start, building up a lead of over ten second by lap 18. However his hard work was to be undone a lap later when Dario Franchitti brought out the first full course caution of the day, the four-time champion crashing out seconds after emerging from the pit lane.

A switch to the slower 'black' tyre during the yellow flag period saw Power's team mate Castroneves gain the upper hand. He took the lead on lap 32 after a bold pass on his fellow Penske driver. He would remain in from until lap 85 when Hinchcliffe would assume command.

Power meanwhile was hit behind by JR Hilderbrand during a caution period and dropped back to 17th but began to fight his way back immediately.

Hinchcliffe held station as Castroneves began to close in. Simona de Silvestro held third after battling with the leaders early on. She was attempting to save fuel as team mate Tony Kanaan ran in fourth. Will Power's woes continued as he spun and clipped a tyre barrier. the incident dropping him back to 16th.

Marco Andretti rallied from fifth to take Kanaan in the closing stages, before passing de Silvestro as the Swiss' tyres began to go off. Kanaan then took fourth as de Silvestro struggled for grip going onto the main straight. This wasn't the end for her though as Scott Dixon dragged past her to steal fifth on the line. Dixon's fifth place was the highest finish for a Honda powered car.

Former Formula One star Takuma Sato had impressed by starting on the front row of the grid but he was unable to capitalise, dropping back through the field. He was however still able to finish with a strong eight place, behind EJ Viso. Justin Wilson and Alex Tagliani rounded out the top ten.

James Hinchcliffe's win was his first in 32 starts and the first for a sponsored car.

The IZOD IndyCar Series continues in two weeks with the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

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