Adrian Sutil pleased to make Q3 in tough qualifying session

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Adrian Sutil is delighted to have qualified in the top ten for the Canadian Grand Prix after difficult conditions created a lottery in the final few minutes of Q2.

The session was red flagged after Felipe Massa’s accident, leaving many drivers with a race against time to put in one final lap time. Sutil managed to make it through to the final shootout with a good lap, and he was pleased to qualify 8th for the race tomorrow.

“I’m quite happy with eighth place,” Sutil said in a team statement. “It was a tough qualifying session and very hard to judge the conditions. Some parts of the track were wet and other areas were dry, so it was difficult to know how much to push.”

Like many, Sutil struggled with his intermediate tires due to the cold and wet conditions.

“I also struggled to get the heat in the tires, so it was not easy to get it altogether for one lap. The most important lap for me was just after the red flag: we all queued up at the end of the pit lane – a bit like a race start – and I knew I had one chance to make Q2. Fortunately it worked out well for me.”

This weekend’s race marks Force India’s 100th grand prix, having debuted in Australia in 2008. Paul di Resta was not as fortunate as Sutil, suffering a software issue which meant he failed to make it past Q1 for the second consecutive race.

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.