James Hinchcliffe described qualifying second for Sunday's IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park as "bittersweet," his joy at having secured his career-best grid position having been tempered by that fact that he believes he could have taken pole.
The Andretti Autosport driver's previous best qualifying position was third at Kentucky last year, but he admitted that missing pole by just 0.04sec this weekend had left him ruing what might have been.
"It's one of those bittersweet things," he said. "Obviously, it's the best start of my career. Thrilled with that. When you look at the gap, half a tenth, you go over every single corner in your head, thinking, 'what could I have done differently'. With a 0.3sec gap, no problem. But when the gap is that small..."
Hinchcliffe said that the misfortunes that struck some of the more experienced drivers had helped create an opportunity for him to make an impact.
"It's not that often that you have a Fast Six missing two Penskes and missing [Ryan] Hunter-Reay," he said. "There was a good opportunity for us to get a good start."