From the redundancy department, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay were once again 1-2 in practice two for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ Milwaukee IndyFest. The Andretti Autosport teammates also led this morning’s session, at slower speeds.
Temperatures were warmer this afternoon (73 ambient, 106 track compared to 66 and 87 this morning, per Firestone Racing). Andretti’s best lap this afternoon was 168.534 mph, with Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato also in the 168 range. Dario Franchitti took last year’s pole position at 168.737 mph.
E.J. Viso and Scott Dixon completed the top five, with Helio Castroneves, Justin Wilson, James Jakes, Alex Tagliani and 2006 Milwaukee winner Sebastien Bourdais rounding out the top 10.
Franchitti just missed the top 10 in P11, Will Power was just 17th, with series returnees Ryan Briscoe (16th) and Ana Beatriz (19th) down the charts in this session.
The field was much more spread out this session. More than eight tenths (0.8573) separated spots 1-22, with Charlie Kimball and Ed Carpenter more than a second off the pace.
Qualifying occurs at 4:15 p.m. CT (5:15 p.m. ET), and you can see qualifying coverage at 7 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.