Colton Herta leads the way in Portland first practice
Rookie Colton Herta has had a 2019 to rememeber so far and IndyCar's youngest winner set the pace again, leading the way in Friday's opening practice session for the Grand Prix of Portland from Portland International Raceway.
Herta's fastest lap stopped the clock with a best time of 57.4293 seconds, gapping second place Alexander Rossi by a mere 0.1 seconds, whilst Scott Dixon was just 0.2s adrift in third.
There were two main stoylines ahead of the session, a slick, slippery surface and some excellent pace from Honda. With the top three spots being occupied by Hondas, the top Chevy was points leader Josef Newgarden in fourth. Newgarden was in fact Chevy's only car in the top ten as team-mates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud were P11 and P12 respectively.
During the session, countless drivers encountered an array of half spins and wheels in the gravel moments. Zach Veach and Santino Ferrucci were among two drivers who made high speed saves during the session. Ferrucci's was extra impressive with a one hand save from an almost completely spun out car.
Pagenaud would experience a heart dropping moment too as Max Chilton exited the pits into the path of the oncoming Indy 500 winner. Neither driver would give an inch to the other before Pagenaud muscled the Englishman out of the way going into turn one.
Marco Andretti, who flipped on the opening lap one year ago, would complete the top five. James Hinchcliffe and Veach were sixth and seventh respectively. Felix Rosenqvist, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Gateway winner Takuma Sato rounded out the top ten.
Marcus Ericsson's replacement driver, Conor Daly, would not have a good session finishing in last, 1.7 seconds off the pace. Daly also finished 0.19 seconds behind Charlie Kimball, coincidentally his former team-mate at Carlin a mere five days ago.