Herta leads final practice; Robb, Dixon and Newgarden all hit the wall

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The second practice in St. Petersburg was akin to the first one: lots of sliding and many drivers aiming for that top spot.

The winner of two years ago, Josef Newgarden, was the first one to brush the wall at turn 10, much to his own frustration after also hitting the wall at turn 9 during practice one yesterday.

McLaren and Chip Ganassi Racing looked on the pace in the first half of the session, which was ended by a mistake by Romain Grosjean, who parked his

Andretti-entered Dallara in the gravel at the final turn.

Shortly after this small break it was Sting Ray Robb who exceeded the track limits and hit the concrete wall in Turn 3, damaging his car quite badly.

When the green came out again several drivers had a shot at the fastest time. Pato O’Ward was first dethroned by teammate Felix Rosenqvist, who subsequently lost the top spot to Grosjean. Next to make a mistake was Helio Castroneves who spun in Turn 10, just before Rinus VeeKay put his car up top with 15 minutes to go, with teammate Conor Daly only in P22.

Last one to go to P1 was Herta with a time of just over 1 minute. Reigning race winner Scott McLaughlin slotted into P2 as Team Penske finally got clean laps in with their cars.

Dixon was the last one to cause a red flag when he spun into the barriers at Turn 4, with just 6 minutes to go. The field was released again with just over 2.5 minutes to go, but up front nothing changed anymore.

Photo: Penske Entertainment | Joe Skibinski