Power & Hunter-Reay Fast In St. Petersburg


“Now, Tony and I are teammates. I think we are still trying to learn how to communicate with each other. I think for me I have never had a teammate. It’s getting better but I feel like we drive a little bit differently so we both need a little bit different things in the car right now. I think we are communicating and it’s getting there. I don’t think our relationship is perfect right now. I think it’s going to take a little bit more time, but it’s really cool to have information going your way. I can ask him some question and he can ask me some questions. I feel like we have a little ways to go to really be perfect.”

But the inevitable question for de Silvestro was, “How does it feel to have a real engine?” after her days with Lotus.

“It’s unbelievable,” de Silvestro said. “I think to be with Chevy they won the championship last year and you know to me just the work ethic they have. Every test we have done so far they always try to accommodate every driver to their driving style and the engineers every session will go out there to try to make it better. That is the biggest thing to be with a manufacturer like that makes it very special.”

Last season’s champion believes this is the start of many impressive days for the “Swiss Miss.”

“Simona is the real deal we have seen that from day one,” Hunter-Reay said. “She is quick very quick; scary quick at a lot of times and that is with a good team and with a great manufacturer like Chevrolet. She has got the horsepower to do it this year. Hopefully, she takes it easy on TK (Tony Kanaan) too. We will see.”

Oriol Servia of Dreyer & Reinbold Panther Racing was fourth at 1:01.689 (104.914 mph) in another Chevy before the first Honda entry of the session rounded out the top five as Takuma Sato’s time was 1:01.770 (104.905 mph) for team owner A.J. Foyt.

“It feels good to have our name up there,” Servia said. “It was a legit time; we only used one set of tires. This morning, I thought we were on a good path with the car; we just needed to tweak it and be able to match the track. We just need to keep it up and be fighting for the pole tomorrow and a win on Sunday. It just feels so good to be in the game and know it’s in our reach.”

Helio Castroneves is the defending winner of this race and the only three-time winner of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He was sixth-fastest for Team Penske at 1:01.785 (104.879 mph) and hopes to climb the fence at “Dan Wheldon Way” on Sunday.

“It was a great day for the Hitachi Chevrolet, we were able to find some speed and improve the car from the first session to the second,” Castroneves said. “The Team Penske guys did a great job as always so we feel good for tomorrow and hopefully the weather holds up so that we can keep getting better.”