Colton Herta expressed relief after tough recovery drive in St.Pete

Colton Herta has expressed relief at his eighth-place finish after a tough recovery drive during the opening round of the NTT IndyCar Series in St. Petersburg, Florida.

During qualifying on Saturday, Herta looked to be comfortably making his way into the Fast Six shootout, this was until some dithering on the racing line meant he inadvertently held up Charlie Kimball on a fast lap.

The 18-year old was subsequently penalised and had his best two laps deleted which left him starting 11th.

A dejected Herta was a man of few words in the moments after being dropped from the Fast Six, but took to social media afterward, expressing his focus was on his good pace and he felt bad for letting the team down for blocking a fellow competitor.

This went down well with the Carlin driver who spoke about Herta, saying his "honesty and humility... will stand him in good stead in this paddock".

Race day was another day of up and downs. The youngster was swallowed up at the initial start and continued to lose more places in the early stages of the race, dropping towards the back of the pack.

However, he was able to bring himself back through the field steadily and finish inside the top 10 on just his second IndyCar start.

"We had a pretty poor start to the race," admitted Herta. "I bumped the wall after a restart and lost quite a (few) positions. We were all the way down in 17th position at one point.

"After that, we just had really great pace and were able to start making up positions when everyone was in the pits."

"An eighth-place finish isn't too bad for the first race of the season. The Harding Steinbrenner Racing guys did a great job this weekend and I'm very happy with the No. 88 Latitude Vacation Club car."