Rossi pleased with practice showing in Montreal

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Alexander Rossi is pleased with his performance during practice for the Canadian Grand Prix despite finishing at the bottom of the timesheets.

The Caterham reserve driver deputized for Kamui Kobayashi during FP1 on Friday in Montreal, marking the first time that he drove  a 2014-spec F1 car. Nevertheless, his time was just four-tenths shy of Caterham regular Marcus Ericsson, and he was pleased to complete some good mileage.

“Yeah it was alright I think,” he explained when asked about his session by NBC Sports. “Obviously you always want to go quicker than the other car. I think that for the first foray, 27 laps is alright.

“There were some things that were very much as I expected, and some things that weren’t. At the end of the day, I accomplished the number one thing, which was to drive this year’s car to get an idea of what it’s about.”

Rossi last drove for Caterham during practice for the United States Grand Prix – his home race – but since then Formula 1 has seen a huge change in the regulations, making the cars very different to their 2013 predecessors.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s anything that’s the same, to be honest, other than the fact that it’s a green race car with four wheels,” Rossi said. “Everything’s completely different and the approach that you have to take is completely different as well. It’s a fun car to drive to be honest, it takes you back more to the junior formula days because it’s not a race car that’s just on rails.”

Now, Rossi is turning his attention back to his GP2 campaign with Caterham Racing. He will next drive a Formula 1 car at the race in Austin later this year.

“This is a great experience. I’m very thankful to the team for the opportunity. I have a lot of work to do in GP2, so starting right now, my mind is going back to GP2 and how we can improve that situation. Come Austin, I think the car will be very different than what I just drove anyway, so it will be a new kind of experience to adapt to.”

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

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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.