2018 St. Pete: IndyCar Race Results - Bourdais, Honda Survive to Win!
Sebastien Bourdais took victory at the 2018 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Credit: PaddockTalk / Paul Hurley
By Mike Sulka
Wow! Double Wow! Sebastien Bourdais hung around and watched his fellow competitor Alexander Rossi knock himself and the leader Robert Wickens out of the race. For Bourdais, it is his first win of the year, and sixth IndyCar victory. Bourdais now has 37 major opern-wheel victories.
Graham Rahal survived an early error to finish second. For Rahal, it is his first podium of the year, and 23rd career IndyCar podium.
Alexander Rossi would race hard and take a chance. He'd slide hard into the leader Robert Wickens with two laps to go, and survive to take third place.
James Hinchcliffe and Ryan Hunter-Reay would round out the top-five.
The green flag dropped and in a field dominated by young and unfamiliar names - including Pole position - it was veteran IndyCar driver Will Power who spun after losing control on Turn One Lap One of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Ryan Hunter-Reay would end Lap One on pit road due to an ECU problem, and Tony Kanaan (AJ Foyt Racing) would tackle the tires after contact with Zach Veach. The veterans and former IndyCar champions had clearly been out flanked.
Kudos to race control for keeping the circuit green.
Charlie Kimball would be the next veteran to suffer. On Lap 3, his stalled car would bring out the first caution. Kimball would get restarted, and the field was back to green before the commercial break had ended.
The leader after the restart was Jordan King (R) - R is for Rookie. For those who don't know, King is a former Formula 1 F1 development driver - but never raced - and former F2/GP2 driver. Rookie Robert Wickens (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports) would run second with Matheus Leist (R) running third. Wickens also served a stint in Formula One as a test driver - in 2011.
That's right, three rookies at the front after seven laps. Alexander Rossi would quickly break-up the freshman party and slot into third. Veteran Graham Rahal would lose control of his IndyCar, and spear poor Spencer Pigot at Turn One.
IndyCar veterans continuing to look off.
On Lap 11, the second restart would get very interesting as Rossi kept it off the wall after a fight over second with King. The race would finally settle in.
Wickens would pit from the lead on Lap 25.
Yellow number three. Matheus Leist would end up in the wall after missing the apex of Turn Three. Sebastien Bourdais, Pigot and Wickens would lead the Lap 33 restart.
IndyCar veterans Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato brought out the yellow. Dixon would get caught out on the white paint of the air field while attempting to pass James Hinchcliffe. Hinch would miss the accident, but Sato would get speared by Dixon.
Bourdais, Wickens and Rossi would lead the field back to green on Lap 39.
Rookie Jack Harvey and his IndyCar would end his race on Lap 40 deep in the grass without a right rear tire. It appeared the tire had failed, and then he lost the car running a bit too quick back to the pits.
Wickens, Rossi and Andretti were at the front when racing action restarted on Lap 45. By Lap 54, Hinchcliffe had moved into third with Ryan Hunter-Reay right behind.
The track remained green until Wickens pitted from the lead on Lap 83, and returned in second with a three second gap to Rossi. On Lap 88, Hunter-Reay would peel off for his final stop and Wickens would take the lead for the final time.
With eight laps to go, the field would bunch up after Rene Binder would nose into the wall. The incident would lead to a fight over the final laps. Wickens would get a clean restart with four laps to go, Rossi and Bourdais would follow. After one green lap, Max Chilton would stall in the middle of the track.
The race would restart quickly with two laps to go, and Alexander Rossi would wipe out Wickens in Turn One. The winner would be Sebastien Bourdais who would slip past the accident to take a surprising victory!
Next up, the Phoenix Grand Prix at the oval at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona in a month.
2018 St. Pete: IndyCar Race Results
1 Sebastien Bourdais Honda
2 Graham Rahal Honda
3 Alexander Rossi Honda
4 James Hinchcliffe
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay Honda
6 Scott Dixon Honda
7 Josef Newgarden Chevrolet
8 Ed Jones Honda
9 Marco Andretti Honda
10 Will Power Chevrolet
11 Tony Kanaan Chevrolet
12 Takuma Sato Honda
13 Simon Pagenaud Chevrolet
14 Gabby Chaves Chevrolet
15 Spencer Pigot Chevrolet
16 Zach Veach Honda
17 Zach Claman De Melo Honda
18 Robert Wickens Honda
19 Max Chilton Chevrolet
20 Charlie Kimball Chevrolet
21 Jordan King Chevrolet
22 Rene Binder Chevrolet DNF
23 Jack Harvey Honda DNF
24 Matheus Leist Chevrolet DNF