Fernando Alonso 24th in Indianapolis 500 practice on Tuesday
Spaniard completes more laps than any other driver as he learns about pack racing; Max Chilton best-placed Briton in 23rd
By William Esler
Last Updated: 17/05/17 4:40pm
Fernando Alonso finished his third practice session for the Indy 500 in 24th place after surviving 'happy hour'.
The Spaniard is missing the Monaco Grand Prix next week to take part in the race as he chases the second part of motorsport's Triple Crown - winning the Monaco GP, the Le Mans 24 hours and the Indy 500.
Having passed his rookie orientation ahead of the Spanish GP, Monday's running was essentially a shakedown session for Alonso and his McLaren Honda Andretti Autosport car.
Whereas most of his competitors had raced on the Indianapolis road course on Saturday night, Alonso flew overnight from Barcelona to the track to join IndyCar's showcase 'month of May'.
He finished 19th on Monday's time sheet with a best overall lap of 223.025mph, but was limited to only 20 laps due to a rear suspension problem.
Tuesday saw Alonso complete 117 laps, more than any other driver, but he slipped to 24th on the time sheet with a best lap of 221.029 mph, which translated as around four tenths slower than his lap the day before. That can partly be attributed to the wind at the circuit.
However, for Alonso the session was about learning to run in traffic, with nearly all 33 cars on track at once during 'happy hour'.
"It was good, very positive and productive day," said Alonso. "We did a lot of laps, a lot of learning, some group running, finally with some traffic.
"So, it is information I will sleep on and be a better oval driver tomorrow."
Alonso's learning is aided by having five team-mates at Andretti Autosport, who are able to simulate pack racing in a controlled manner for the Spaniard.
"I'm on the best team for that; we are six cars and we were running together," explained Alonso. "My team-mates were amazing helping me.
"I was learning every lap, when I follow them, learning what they do, how they attack the next corner or the next lap, how they prepare the overtaking, so, it was very useful and a very productive day."
Team Penske's Will Power and Helio Castroneves finished one-two on Tuesday's time sheet, with Ryan Hunter-Reay the best-placed Andretti car in fourth.
Ex-F1 driver and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi was 14th quickest, while the British contingent was headed by Max Chilton 23rd with Jay Howard 30th, Jack Harvey 31st and Pippa Mann 32nd.
Don't miss the final word on the Spanish GP in the F1 Report on Wednesday at 8.30pm on Sky F1. Leading F1 journalist Peter Windsor joins Natalie Pinkham and Marc Priestley to look back at all the Barcelona action
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