Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole

Castroneves chips into points lead with Fontana pole

29 August 2014 – Helio Castroneves picked up his second pole position of 2014 at the most crucial time possible: On the eve of the championship decider where he now trails Will Power by 50 points.

The pole position ahead of the double points contest at Fontana is of minor concern to Helio, though, since only two people (Power included) have ever won the race from pole, but regardless, with a 218.540mph average he starts on the opposite end of the field to his championship rival.

Power started strong on his warmup lap, but like so many before him the tyres began to degrade at the end of that lap around the 2.0mi high banked oval. As a result, his first lap of qualifying was way off, over four miles-per-hour slower than his second lap, putting him into an insurmountable hole. While he improved on his second lap by taking a different line, the Australian will still start second to last on the field in P21 – which is exactly what Castroneves and fellow title contender Simon Pagenaud want.

For Castroneves, he can finish anywhere on the podium but if he's third at the end of the race, Power will need to have stayed in P21, which seems unlikely for the 2013 Fontana winner and three-time championship runner-up.

Pagenaud needs more help than that, requiring both Power and Castroneves to be at the back of the field and for the Frenchman to win. Pagenaud will start in P13, though, which means he'll have his work cut out for him, too.

For most of the scorching session, track temperatures were well over 135°F (57°C), and Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was the provisional polesitter.  Only Castroneves beat Montoya's P1 speed of 217.614mph.

Josef Newgarden had another strong showing, starting on the outside of the front row (since Fontana is another Triple Crown 500-mile race, the field will be starting three-wide) in front of Takuma Sato, with one of his best qualifying sessions of the year.

Last year's series champion, Scott Dixon, rounds out the top five ahead of Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan, rookie Mikhail Aleshin, 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal, who nearly won last week's race at Sonoma.

Ed Carpenter qualified a disappointing P14 and was a victim of a very slow second lap due to tyre burnoff. He had tried a very slow warmup to combat that, but his tyres still dropped off after a 218mph first lap, pushing his average down to 215mph. Just seven cars in the field improved on their second laps (including Power), but Helio didn't even need to in order to capture pole after a blistering 219mph first attempt.

Interestingly, most of the track and the online timing and scoring lost power during Helio's warmup lap, but the official timing and scoring was still able to keep track of his times.

Saturday's 250-lap race at Fontana will go green under the lights at 21:00 local time (GMT -7)

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Monday 27 February 2017

  2. Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 1 line-up 06:34

    Barcelona pre-season testing: Day 1 line-up

    Formula 1 returns to action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday, for the first day of pre-season testing.…

    F1
  3. Video of the Day: Verstappen previews 2017 05:22

    Video of the Day: Verstappen previews 2017

    Red Bull racer Max Verstappen looks ahead to the 2017 Formula 1 season, his third in the championship.

    F1
  4. Sunday 26 February 2017

  5. Key: STR boosted by Renault, driver stability 17:59

    Key: STR boosted by Renault, driver stability

    Toro Rosso Technical Director James Key believes the team will be lifted by returning to using current-year Renault power units…

    F1
  6. 17:39

    Photos: Toro Rosso unveils striking STR12

    F1
  7. Sauber confirms schedule for first test 17:33

    Sauber confirms schedule for first test

    Sauber has confirmed its driver schedule for the opening pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Sauber will…

    F1
  8. Video: Toro Rosso STR12 at Misano 17:22

    Video: Toro Rosso STR12 at Misano

    Watch as Toro Rosso's new-look STR12 is put through its paces during a filming day at Misano.

    F1
  9. In photos: Formula 1 designs of 2017 17:18

    In photos: Formula 1 designs of 2017

    Formula 1's 2017 cars have been presented throughout 'launch week', in the build up to pre-season testing in Barcelona. Did you…

    F1
  10. Toro Rosso reveals new look with STR12 17:12

    Toro Rosso reveals new look with STR12

    Toro Rosso has completed Formula 1's launch season by unveiling its new-look STR12 in the pit lane at the Circuit de…

    F1
  11. 17:12

    New: Follow GPUpdate on Instagram!

    F1
  12. Video: Red Bull reveals RB13 online 16:32

    Video: Red Bull reveals RB13 online

    Watch the online presentation as Red Bull reveals its new Formula 1 challenger, called the RB13.

    F1
  13. 14:08

    Photos: Haas presents 2017 F1 design

    F1
  14. Haas F1 unveils VF-17 after filming day 14:02

    Haas F1 unveils VF-17 after filming day

    Haas has officially unveiled its 2017 car, the VF-17, as the American squad prepares to embark on its second season in Formula…

    F1
  15. Red Bull unveils RB13 ahead of testing 12:17

    Red Bull unveils RB13 ahead of testing

    Red Bull has launched its Renault-powered RB13, the car with which it hopes to challenge Mercedes for the World Championship in…

    F1
  16. Driver line-ups for opening Barcelona test 10:44

    Driver line-ups for opening Barcelona test

    Formula 1 finally returns to action at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this week with the first four-day test of the year.…

    F1
  17. Alonso gives McLaren MCL32 track debut 08:56

    Alonso gives McLaren MCL32 track debut

    Fernando Alonso has given the McLaren MCL32 its track debut during a filming day at a chilly but sunny Circuit de…

    F1
  18. Preview: Formula 1 gears up for testing 08:46

    Preview: Formula 1 gears up for testing

    Formula 1 will roar back into life on Monday morning with the first of 2017's two pre-season test sessions at the Circuit de…

    F1
  19. Video of the Day: Ricciardo on 2017 season 05:32

    Video of the Day: Ricciardo on 2017 season

    Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo talks about his and the team's chances during the 2017 season.

    F1
  20. Saturday 25 February 2017

  21. Márquez dislocates shoulder in test crash 19:20

    Márquez dislocates shoulder in test crash

    MotoGP World Champion Marc Márquez dislocated his shoulder in a crash during Repsol Honda's private test at the Circuito de…

    MotoGP
  22. Haas runs VF-17 for first time in filming day 19:07

    Haas runs VF-17 for first time in filming day

    Haas has run its new Formula 1 car, the VF-17, for the first time during a filming day in Barcelona. Haas is one of only…

    F1
  23. McLaren wary 2017 too soon for success 16:52

    McLaren wary 2017 too soon for success

    McLaren Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale is confident that the team will continue to make gains in 2017, but is conscious…

    F1
  24. Video: Vettel drives SF70-H at Fiorano 14:40

    Video: Vettel drives SF70-H at Fiorano

    Sebastian Vettel receives his first taste of Ferrari's SF70-H at Fiorano, after Kimi Räikkönen's run.

    F1
  25. FIA and FIM approve Barcelona changes 12:02

    FIA and FIM approve Barcelona changes

    Representatives from the FIA and the FIM have approved changes undertaken at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which hosts…

    F1
  26. Wolff: Mercedes to develop intra-team rules 10:12

    Wolff: Mercedes to develop intra-team rules

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the reigning World Champion team will develop its internal driver directive over the course of the…

    F1
  27. McLaren confirms driver line-up for testing 09:53

    McLaren confirms driver line-up for testing

    McLaren has confirmed its driver schedule for next week's opening pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Home…

    F1
  28. Renault RS17 makes track debut in Spain 09:12

    Renault RS17 makes track debut in Spain

    Renault's RS17 has made its track debut at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, two days before the start of pre-season…

    F1
  29. Overview: Mercedes begins new chapter 08:46

    Overview: Mercedes begins new chapter

    Mercedes presented the W08 at Silverstone earlier this week, a car tasked with adding to three successive 'double' title-winning…

    F1
  30. Williams formally presents 2017 F1 car 08:10

    Williams formally presents 2017 F1 car

    Williams has formally presented its 2017 Formula 1 car, the FW40, in an online launch, a week after publishing renders of its…

    F1
  31. Video of the Day: Up close with MCL32 05:32

    Video of the Day: Up close with MCL32

    Take a closer look at the McLaren-Honda MCL32, which was launched by the team on Friday.

    F1
  32. Friday 24 February 2017

  33. Ferrari confirms line-up for opening test 18:15

    Ferrari confirms line-up for opening test

    Ferrari has communicated its planned driver line-up for the opening pre-season test session at the Circuit de…

    F1
  34. Video: Räikkönen drives SF70-H at Fiorano 16:36

    Video: Räikkönen drives SF70-H at Fiorano

    Kimi Räikkönen gives his initial reaction after driving the SF70-H for the first time at Fiorano.

    F1
  35. Sauber confirms Giovinazzi for first test 15:58

    Sauber confirms Giovinazzi for first test

    Sauber has confirmed that Ferrari reserve Antonio Giovinazzi will drive in place of the injured Pascal Wehrlein during next…

    F1
  36. Ricciardo set to debut Red Bull RB13 15:05

    Ricciardo set to debut Red Bull RB13

    Red Bull has confirmed its driver schedule for next week's opening pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with…

    F1
  37. Video: Introducing the McLaren MCL32 14:02

    Video: Introducing the McLaren MCL32

    McLaren-Honda presents its car for the 2017 season, the MCL32, featuring an orange and black livery.

    F1
  38. Video: Hamilton 360° onboard in W08 12:36

    Video: Hamilton 360° onboard in W08

    Lewis Hamilton commentates on a shortened 360° lap of Silverstone in Mercedes' new W08.

    F1
  39. Alonso wants 'respectable' 2017 display 12:29

    Alonso wants 'respectable' 2017 display

    Fernando Alonso has played down expectations of a sudden jump in performance from McLaren-Honda in 2017, stating that the aim is…

    F1
  40. Räikkönen racks up first laps in SF70-H 11:43

    Räikkönen racks up first laps in SF70-H

    Kimi Räikkönen has completed the first laps in Ferrari's new Formula 1 car, the SF70-H, after its formal launch on Friday…

    F1
  41. Video: Ferrari's SF70-H presentation 11:40

    Video: Ferrari's SF70-H presentation

    Watch the full presentation of the Ferrari SF70-H, the team's challenger for the 2017 Formula 1 season.

    F1
  42. Boullier: McLaren can 'turn the corner' 11:32

    Boullier: McLaren can 'turn the corner'

    McLaren-Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier is optimistic that the partnership can "turn the corner" in 2017, after it unveiled…

    F1
  43. McLaren goes orange with new MCL32 11:07

    McLaren goes orange with new MCL32

    McLaren-Honda has unveiled its new MCL32, which sports a striking orange and black colour scheme, after weeks of speculation…

    F1
  44. 10:55

    Follow McLaren's 2017 car launch live!

    F1
more news