James Hinchcliffe was thrilled with his performance on the first day of IndyCar testing at Barber Motorsports Park, even though he admitted that his second place in the morning session was slightly unrepresentative.
The Canadian, a veteran contender in Indy Lights, is hoping to clinch a 2011 IndyCar deal with Newman/Haas after a series of tests with the squad over the winter. The Barber test is the first time he has been matched against the full IndyCar field, and he starred with second place in today's first session and seventh in the afternoon.
"This morning we had a solid car," said Hinchcliffe. "I think half of the field put new tires on in the morning and we were one of them. Not a lot of guys in the top 10 did, so it put us in the top, a little higher than maybe we should have been."
Still, he felt his afternoon form underlined that he was quick around the Alabama road course.
"The car was really good again this afternoon. I had a little bit of a spin which forced us to put our new tires on a little earlier in the day which was not the best time of the day to do that and we ran an alright time, a time good enough for P7," Hinchcliffe said. "But what was incredible was that we made a really good change later and matched it on tires that were about 15 laps old. Doing that on my first day at this track in an IndyCar with everybody here is something to be really happy about."
Veteran Champ Car and IndyCar driver Oriol Servia also ran with Newman/Haas again and was 14th, feeling he was still getting back up to speed as he both made his Barber debut and got back into the swing of things after a year on the sidelines.
"I was very comfortable with the setup of the car but more than anything it's a track with a lot of technical, very fast corners where you need confidence and it just took me some time to get that confidence," said Servia. "I still have quite a bit to go but I felt a lot more comfortable in the afternoon. I'm starting to feel how I should. In the morning, I was still too rusty. I am very happy with the progress in the afternoon, though."