Race Report: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. March 24, 2013—Takuma Sato’s debut in A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Honda at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg started off strong, had some rough spots midway through the race but the plucky driver fought his way back to eighth—tying the team’s best performance at the 1.8 mile circuit.
"It was a tough race right at the beginning, we clipped a front wing on the second restart so we had a damaged car most of the race,” Sato said. “Before we changed the front wing we were as far down as 15th. We picked up some pace and were able to overtake a few cars on the track so that was encouraging. There are quite a few things we need to look at but we fought hard today and I want to thank the ABC Supply team for their hard work!"
Sato, who qualified second, ran there until the first pit stop when he switched his used alternate tires for new primary tires. He slipped to third position more because of where he was pitted than a miscue on the crew’s part which sent him out in 7.3 seconds.
On the lap 32 restart, eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe and he battled for third with Sato’s right front wing getting clipped in the process. He lost a couple positions over the next couple laps and was running sixth when the yellow flag came out for debris on lap 45.