Fernando Alonso fourth in practice on 'Fast Friday' ahead of the Indy 500
Spaniard continues to impress at the Brickyard; Ex-F1 driver Sebastien Bourdais sets the pace
By William Esler
Last Updated: 20/05/17 4:41pm
Fernando Alonso rounded off an impressive week of practice for the Indianapolis 500 with another fourth place finish.
Friday's running was badly affected by caution periods, with over half of the six-hour practice session lost. Bad weather was a particular issue with a two-hour stoppage due to a lightning storm.
With the teams allowed to turn the engines up further for "Fast Friday", Alonso's average lap speed of 231.827 mph was over 6 mph faster than his fastest lap the previous day. Translated into lap time, Alonso's 38.8220 seconds completion of the 2.5 mile course was over a second quicker than he had managed the previous day.
Alonso was also an impressive fifth on the 'no tow list', suggesting his car is quick not just in traffic, but also on its own which will be crucial when the drivers take to the track by themselves during qualifying. The Spaniard spent the final part of the session working on his low-downforce setup.
However, Alonso didn't feel as if he was going much faster.
"Not really," said the Spaniard when asked if he'd noticed the power difference from the previous day.
"I think at the end of the day when you're driving the car you don't realise if you are six or seven miles [per hour] faster; you always want an extra mile to be able to go faster. Today was obviously a little bit stressful with the rain coming and we tried to fit as many laps as possible in the [early afternoon].
"Yes, we managed to fit another two [qualifying-simulation] runs late in the day. We're quite happy. It was another day of learning those extra speeds and hopefully tomorrow we have a good [qualifying run]."
Former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Bourdais was quickest on 'Fast Friday' for Dale Coyne Racing with an average lap speed of 233.116 mph - the only man to break through the 233 mph barrier. His time was two tenths of a second quicker than Alonso's.
"There's never a bad day when you're at the front," said Bourdais.
"Definitely happy with the way things turned out. The car felt good. We tried a couple of things and finished the session really happy with the speed and the car balance. Hopefully it stays that way.
Alonso's Andretti Autosport team-mates Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay were second and third quickest as Honda power continued to dominate at the Brickyard.
How Indy 500 qualifying works
The qualifying format is rather more complicated than F1 and is held over two days; Our quick guide explains more
Following Friday practice the random draw was made for the qualifying running order, with McLaren's Zak Brown pulling out number 33 for Alonso's main car and number eight for his backup car.
As for the British contingent, Jay Howard was eighth quickest on Friday (231.225 mph), Max Chilton 18th (230.636 mph), Pippa Mann 21st (230.103 mph) and Jack Harvey 25th (228.426 mph)
Indy 500 Friday Practice Timesheet
|Position||Driver||Team||Engine||Speed (mph)||Time (secs)|
|1.||Sebastian Bourdais||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||233.116||38.7064|
|2.||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Andretti Autosport||Honda||232.132||38.7711|
|3.||Takuma Sato||Andretti Autosport||Honda||231.969||38.7983|
|4.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren Honda Andretti||Honda||231.827||38.8220|
|5.||Juan Pablo Montoya||Team Penske||Chevrolet||231.682||38.8463|
|6.||James Hinchcliffe||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||231.517||38.8740|
|7.||Mikhail Aleshin||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||231.447||38.8858|
|8.||Jay Howard||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||Honda||231.255||38.9181|
|9.||Ed Jones||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||231.252||38.9185|
|10.||Alexander Rossi||Andretti Herta Autosport||Honda||231.191||38.9288|
|11.||Tony Kanaan||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||231.054||38.9519|
|12.||Scott Dixon||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||231.016||38.9584|
|13.||Helio Castroneves||Team Penske||Chevrolet||230.982||38.9640|
|14.||Oriol Servia||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||230.887||38.9801|
|15.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||Honda||230.769||39.0000|
|16.||Will Power||Team Penske||Chevrolet||230.717||39.0088|
|17.||Ed Carpenter||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||230.712||39.0097|
|18.||Max Chilton||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||230.636||39.0225|
|19.||JR Hildebrand||Ed Carpenter Racing||Chevrolet||230.627||39.0241|
|20.||Charlie Kimball||Chip Ganassi Racing||Honda||230.335||39.0735|
|21.||Pippa Mann||Dale Coyne Racing||Honda||230.103||39.1130|
|22.||Graham Rahal||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||Honda||230.007||39.1292|
|23.||Simon Pagenaud||Team Penske||Chevrolet||229.973||39.1350|
|24.||Josef Newgarden||Team Penske||Chevrolet||228.624||39.3660|
|25.||Jack Harvey||Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport||Honda||228.426||39.4001|
|26.||Sage Karam||Dreyer & Reinbold Racing||Chevrolet||228.159||39.4462|
|27.||Carlos Munoz||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||227.956||39.4813|
|28.||Conor Daly||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||227.225||39.6083|
|29.||Gabby Chaves||Harding Racing||Chevrolet||227.168||39.6182|
|30.||Zach Veach||A. J. Foyt Enterprises||Chevrolet||227.082||39.6333|
|31.||Sebastian Saavedra||Juncos Racing||Chevrolet||226.224||39.7835|
|32.||Spencer Pigot||Juncos Racing||Chevrolet||226.170||39.7931|
|33.||Buddy Lazier||Lazier Racing Partners||Honda||219.640||40.9761|
Don't miss the Monaco GP live on Sky Sports F1 on May 28 - lights out for the race is at 1pm. Check out all the ways to watch F1 on Sky Sports for subscribers and non-subscribers - including a NOW TV day pass for £6.99!
Have your say! Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.