After Chevrolet-powered teams dominated yesterday's practice sessions for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda struck back this morning with Takuma Sato topping the final practice before this afternoon's qualifying session (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network).
Sato made his move to the top of the sheets late, posting a lap of 61.5293 seconds around the 1.8-mile street circuit. That was enough to best Will Power, who was the fastest driver on Friday and turned in a lap of 61.7386 seconds this morning. James Hinchcliffe was third-quickest with a time of 61.8971 seconds.
"It's only [practice], but [with the] black [primary] tire, we found a reasonable set up," Sato said to IndyCar Radio after the session. "It's definitely a big improvement from...the first practice."
Outside of Sato, Chevy locked up the next six positions in the session, with Tony Kanaan, Sebastian Saavedra, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
E.J. Viso suffered damage in the session after making contact with the wall on the Bayshore Boulevard backstretch. Viso later revealed that the right front suspension failed on his machine, causing the incident and putting his Andretti Autosport team on the clock to repair his machine before qualifying.