Honda Grand Prix: Franchitti finishes third

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:39 IST

Dario Franchitti loves the street circuit at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but it hasn't been very good to the Scot.

Honda Grand Prix: Franchitti finishes third

St Petersburg:

Dario Franchitti loves the street circuit at the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, but it hasn't been very good to the Scot.A year ago, the Scotsman had a dominating car but finished third after having to come through the pack twice because of a fuel pickup problem. This year, Franchitti led every practice session, won the pole and was in position for a runaway victory until his car broke on the 15th lap.He had led every lap of the race to that point and was ahead of runner-up Scott Dixon by nearly 2 seconds until he slowed and drove to the pits, where he quickly climbed out of the car.Until that moment, Franchitti's only problem came in the Sunday morning warmup when he saw Kosuke Matsuura's car in a tire wall ahead of him, braked hard and slid into the wall.Franchitti finished last in the 19-car field. Dan Wheldon, the defending series and race champion and the previous week's winner, had a very unfortunate race, starting 13th and finishing 15th.The Englishman appeared capable of overcoming his poor qualifying effort, moving into the top 10 several times before a collision with Sam Hornish Jr ended his day.Caution periodLast year's winner survived an early bumping incident with rookie Marco Andretti and was running eighth after all the leaders pitted on lap 56 during the first caution period of the race.Hornish came out of the pits ahead of Wheldon, but IRL officials said Wheldon had crossed the white line at the pit exit ahead and told Wheldon to move past Hornish. Wheldon tried to make the pass in a turn, ran over Hornish's front wing and wound up sideways on the track with a broken wheel. Ed Carpenter, injured a week earlier in Homestead in the same crash in which Paul Dana sustained fatal injuries, watched Sunday's race from Vision Racing's pits.Roberto Moreno, who replaced Carpenter in the No. 20, went out early with damage to his car from an earlier incident with Vitor Meira. But Carpenter stuck around to root on teammate Tomas Scheckter, who finished 12th after a late-race collision with Buddy Rice. (AP)



Topics : Formula 1
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