Sebastien Bourdais lapped within two seconds of the standing Verizon IndyCar Series track record in the opening practice session of the weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
- Results: 2018 Honda Indy 200 Practice 1
Completing just 11 laps of the 2.258-mile permanent road course, Bourdais executed a 1:05.5784 lap to outpace points leaders Scott Dixon and Josef Newgarden atop the timesheet.
Reigning IndyCar champion — and Mid-Ohio victor — Newgarden was second fastest with a best lap 0.3383 seconds off Bourdais’ leading time. Dixon was a further 0.2990 seconds back in third for a total gap of 0.6373 seconds to Bourdais.
Takuma Sato and Spencer Pigot were fourth and fifth ahead of Ed Jones, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Alexander Rossi who completed a top 10 that was split by 0.8172 seconds.
Despite bringing out the first of three red flags during the 45-minute outing, AJ Foyt Racing driver Matheus Leist was the fastest rookie in Practice 1. The young Brazilian ran off at Turn 5 early in the session but went on to lap within 1.2188 seconds of Bourdais — good enough for 13th.
Robert Wickens, one of six other rookies in the field, was only able to reach the 21st position in Practice 1 after he guided his No. 6 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda off track at Turn 2 with an apparent engine problem roughly halfway through the session.
The third and final red flag of the session brought it to an early end due to a spin for Will Power in Turn 9. The incident involved contact between Power, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball.
Of the 335 total laps turned by the field to kick off the weekend, Conor Daly’s fastest one placed the No. 88 Chevrolet from Harding Racing at the bottom of the running order. Daly was 0.3021 seconds in arrears of rookie Rene Binder and more than two seconds slower than Bourdais.
The IndyCar field will return to the Lexington, Ohio track at 2:35 p.m. EDT Friday for an hourlong practice before focus turns to Saturday’s qualifying.