Will Power set the pace in the opening practice session for this weekend's IndyCar race at the Sao Paulo street circuit. The Australian, who is the only driver ever to have won at the track, topped the times with a best lap of 1m21.8517s.
Earlier, he had suffered a brief scare when he went off at Turn 11, but he escaped damage and his car was cleared under local yellows – just as it was when Penske teammate Helio Castroneves did exactly the same thing shortly afterward.
Power's time left him 0.04 second ahead of nearest challenger Josef Newgarden's Sarah Fisher Hartman entry, while Sebastien Bourdais was able to claim the third-best lap for Dragon, ahead of Ganassi's Dario Franchitti, who had led proceedings earlier on.
The session ended under a red flag when Simon Pagenaud crashed into the barriers at the exit of Turn 2 just as the final seconds were ticking down. Pagenaud was unhurt and still finished the morning with the seventh-fastest lap, but the Schmidt Peterson Motorsport team has a lot of work ahead to get his car repaired for second practice in two hours' time.
That wasn't the only SPM-related incident, with Pagenaud's teammate Tristan Vautier having earlier glanced the wall just moments after setting what was then the second-quickest time. He sustained a broken rear wing, but after pitting for repairs was able to rejoin the session.
Tony Kanaan, who suffered ligament damage to his hand in a crash at Long Beach two weeks ago, came into the weekend admitting to concerns about how the injury would stand up to the demands of the Sao Paulo layout, but the Brazilian ended the morning an encouraging sixth fastest.
Pos Driver Team/Car Time Gap
1. Will Power Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m21.8517s
2. Josef Newgarden Fisher Dallara-Honda 1m21.8976s + 0.0459s
3. Sebastien Bourdais Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m22.0495s + 0.1978s
4. Dario Franchitti Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m22.0543s + 0.2026s
5. JR Hildebrand Panther Dallara-Chevy 1m22.1400s + 0.2883s
6. Tony Kanaan KV Dallara-Chevy 1m22.1496s + 0.2979s
7. Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m22.1716s + 0.3199s
8. Takuma Sato Foyt Dallara-Honda 1m22.2408s + 0.3891s
9. Justin Wilson Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m22.2813s + 0.4296s
10. Helio Castroneves Penske Dallara-Chevy 1m22.3418s + 0.4901s
11. Tristan Vautier Schmidt Dallara-Honda 1m22.3519s + 0.5002s
12. James Hinchcliffe Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m22.3666s + 0.5149s
13. Scott Dixon Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m22.3679s + 0.5162s
14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m22.3740s + 0.5223s
15. EJ Viso Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m22.3807s + 0.5290s
16. Graham Rahal Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m22.4790s + 0.6273s
17. Simona de Silvestro KV Dallara-Chevy 1m22.5143s + 0.6626s
18. Alex Tagliani Herta Dallara-Honda 1m22.5892s + 0.7375s
19. James Jakes Rahal Dallara-Honda 1m22.5933s + 0.7416s
20. Oriol Servia Panther DRR Dallara-Chevy 1m22.7252s + 0.8735s
21. Sebastian Saavedra Dragon Dallara-Chevy 1m22.9135s + 1.0618s
22. Charlie Kimball Ganassi Dallara-Honda 1m23.1952s + 1.3435s
23. Ana Beatriz Coyne Dallara-Honda 1m23.2639s + 1.4122s
24. Marco Andretti Andretti Dallara-Chevy 1m23.3269s + 1.4752s
25. Ed Carpenter Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 1m23.4361s + 1.5844s