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2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

The 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was the first race of the 2012 IndyCar Series season. It was held on March 25, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida on the city's temporary street course, and was won by Hélio Castroneves.[1]

United States 2012 St. Petersburg
Race details
1st round of the 2012 IndyCar Series season
St. Petersburg street & airport racing circuit.svg
DateMarch 25, 2012
Official nameHonda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
LocationStreets of St. Petersburg
CourseTemporary street circuit
1.800 mi / 2.897 km
Distance100 laps
180.000 mi / 289.682 km
Weather77 °F (25 °C), partly cloudy
Pole position
DriverWill Power (Team Penske)
Time1:01.3721
Fastest lap
DriverWill Power (Team Penske)
Time62.7575 (on lap 5 of 100)
Podium
FirstHélio Castroneves (Team Penske)
SecondScott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
ThirdRyan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport)
Hélio Castroneves making the run down Dan Wheldon Way on the final lap of the 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Hélio Castroneves stopped on Dan Wheldon Way (Turn 10) victory lap after winning the 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to pay respects to the sign honouring the late resident of the city, a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion.

ReportEdit

BackgroundEdit

This race was the first race since Dan Wheldon was killed in an accident, five month earlier during the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October 2011. It was also the first race run with the new ICONIC chassis by Dallara, which Wheldon was helping to develop and was named the "DW12" in his honor. This race also marked the first time since the end of the 2005 season that Honda wouldn't be IndyCar's exclusive engine supplier. Chevrolet re-entered Indy racing for the first time since that season and Lotus was the third supplier.

QualifyingEdit

For the third consecutive year, Will Power took the pole position for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with a circuit-qualifying record of 1:01.3721. Alongside of Power, Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe will start in row one, in second position. The second row will be occupied Ryan Hunter-Reay and James Hinchcliffe, both of Andretti Autosport.[2]

RaceEdit

The 2012 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg started with pole sitter Will Power leading the field for the majority of the first few laps, with Ryan Briscoe, who qualified second, trailing behind him. Briscoe would eventually take the lead after Power pitted, in for fuel strategy. However, the pit stop by Power would eventually take him out of contention for the race, as he would not near the top spot for the remaining laps. While Briscoe did hold the top position for eight laps, it was Scott Dixon, who was consistently around the top and eventually would inherit the lead on lap 20. Throughout the enterity of the race, Lotus Cars such as rookie Katherine Legge and Simona de Silvestro face mechanical problems, as Lotus finished third between the manufactures, behind Chevrolet and Honda. During the mid-portion of the race, drivers such as Takuma Sato, defending series champion Dario Franchitti and J.R. Hildebrand would all hold a lead in the race. However, coming down to the end, it would be Hélio Castroneves and Dixon battling for the lead in the race and the victory. After a series of pit stops on lap 72, Castroneves would make a bold pass on Dixon, giving him position behind, then leader Hildebrand. This position would eventually allow him to inherit the lead of the race, as Castroneves would lead the final 26 laps, giving him the victory, his first victory since the 2010 season.[3]

ClassificationEdit

Starting gridEdit

Row Inside Outside
1 12   Will Power 2   Ryan Briscoe
2 28   Ryan Hunter-Reay 27   James Hinchcliffe
3 3   Hélio Castroneves 9   Scott Dixon
4 26   Marco Andretti 11   Tony Kanaan
5 10   Dario Franchitti 38   Graham Rahal
6 14   Mike Conway 5   E.J. Viso
7 8   Rubens Barrichello 15   Takuma Sato
8 18   Justin Wilson 77   Simon Pagenaud (R)
9 98   Alex Tagliani 4   J.R. Hildebrand
10 67   Josef Newgarden (R) 19   James Jakes
11 78   Simona de Silvestro 83   Charlie Kimball
12 22   Oriol Servià 20   Ed Carpenter
13 6   Katherine Legge (R) 7   Sébastien Bourdais
Pagenaud penalised 10 places for changing engine

Race ResultsEdit

Pos No. Driver Team Engine Laps Time/Retired Grid Laps Led Points1
1 3   Hélio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 100 1:59:50.9863 5 28 50
2 9   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 100 + 5.5292 6 37 42
3 28   Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 100 + 7.5824 3 0 35
4 27   James Hinchcliffe Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 100 + 10.6526 4 0 32
5 2   Ryan Briscoe Team Penske Chevrolet 100 + 11.7854 2 9 30
6 77   Simon Pagenaud (R) Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Honda 100 + 31.2623 16 0 28
7 12   Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 100 + 34.6582 1 11 27
8 5   E.J. Viso KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 100 + 35.5943 8 0 24
9 83   Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 100 + 43.1425 22 0 22
10 18   Justin Wilson Dale Coyne Racing Honda 100 + 44.3141 15 0 20
11 67   Josef Newgarden (R) Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda 100 + 44.8275 19 0 19
12 38   Graham Rahal Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 100 + 45.1080 10 0 18
13 10   Dario Franchitti Chip Ganassi Racing Honda 100 + 45.8468 9 1 17
14 26   Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Chevrolet 99 + 1 lap 7 0 16
15 98   Alex Tagliani Team Barracuda – BHA Lotus 99 + 1 lap 17 0 15
16 22   Oriol Servià Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Lotus 99 + 1 lap 23 0 14
17 8   Rubens Barrichello KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 98 + 2 laps 13 0 13
18 20   Ed Carpenter Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet 98 + 2 laps 24 0 12
19 4   J.R. Hildebrand Panther Racing Chevrolet 96 Off Course 18 3 12
20 14   Mike Conway A. J. Foyt Enterprises Honda 75 Mechanical 11 0 12
21 7   Sébastien Bourdais Dragon Racing Lotus 73 Off Course 26 0 12
22 15   Takuma Sato Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda 73 Electrical 14 11 12
23 6   Katherine Legge (R) Dragon Racing Lotus 59 Off Course 25 0 12
24 78   Simona de Silvestro HVM Racing Lotus 22 Mechanical 21 0 12
25 11   Tony Kanaan KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 21 Electrical 8 0 10
26 19   James Jakes Dale Coyne Racing Honda 19 Contact 20 0 10
Notes

1 Points include 1 point for pole position and 2 points for most laps led.

Championship standings after the raceEdit