(ST PETERSBURG, FL) – Driving the No. 2 Verizon car, Juan Pablo Montoya has won the Grand Prix of St Petersburg for the second straight year. Montoya finished a scant 2.3306 seconds ahead of teammate Simon Pagenaud with Ryan Hunter-Reay placing 3rd.
It was Montoya’s 15th career IndyCar win, and ties him for 31st on the list with Alex Zanardi.
“It was good,” said Montoya after the race. “The Chevy was good all day. It was exciting to have a new paint scheme and come out and win with it. It’s just awesome. We started the year last year like this. I felt this morning we had a really good car and it paid off.”
Pagenaud led for 48 laps after starting from the pole position, after Will Power suffered a concussion. The 2nd place finish was his best result in four starts on the street course.
“Overall it was a great day,” Pagenaud said. “If you compare to last year, it’s been a massive improvement on the whole 22 crew. I’m super proud to represent HPE in our first race and be here on the podium in second place, leading the race for a while. But, yeah, Montoya is an old dog. He found a little good trick on me. I made one tiny little mistake and it lost me the race.”
Despite getting caught up in traffic during the race, Hunter-Reay was happy with the 3rd place.
“It was a good accomplishment today, very good car and the guys did a great job,” he said. “We did everything we could today from fifth. We got a little held up behind Filippi for a bit in the middle of the race and that kind of gapped it, but good day all-in-all. I’ll take starting the year out with a podium for sure.”
The IndyCar schedule now shifts to Phoenix for the Grand Prix on April 1 and 2. It will be a return to Phoenix International Raceway following an 11-year absence. Additionally, the April 2 race will be under the lights with an 8:30pm ET start.