"We hit the hard limiter, which really hurt us in qualifications," said Pagenaud of his qualifying laps. "The balance was nice in my car. It was awesome in Turns 1 and 2, and then a bit loose in turns 3 and 4. It was a bit loose overall but good enough for me to stay full-throttle for both qualifying laps."
"We had an awesome pace in the first practice session this morning, and then we really struggled this afternoon," admitted Pagenaud's team mate and fellow Frenchman, Tristan Vautier. "We were a bit uncertain of how we would qualify but it was a decent run. I was pretty happy about the car. If someone would have told me we would run that speed before qualifications I don't think I would have believed them."
Six cars were more than a second off Marco's two-lap pole time, with Ryan Briscoe (back in the #4 National Guard car for Panther Racing) and Ana Beatriz (returning to the #18 Dale Coyne Racing car for the first time since the Indy 500) both struggling to find their feet on Friday and finishing 19th and 20th on the grid respectively.
That's still better than Ed Carpenter, usually something of an oval specialist but not finding the pace here and ending up in 21st spot but still faster than Ganassi's Charlie Kimball and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal.
Slowest in qualifying was Tony Kanaan's KV Racing team mate Simona de Silvestro, who ended up two seconds adrift of the pole time in her speed trial.
“We struggled a bit in qualifying,” admitted de Silvestro. “This morning was awesome; the car was really hooked up. Then when we pretty much went out with the same settings and it was really loose.
"We struggled with over-steer and stuff like that the whole time in the second session," she continued. "We adjusted to that for qualifying and now we have a little bit too much under-steer. So the changes we made, they worked, but I don't think we're quite there. I think we have to go in between and hopefully during the race it's going to come to us a little more," she added.
Everyone will see for themselves whether such hopes are well founded when the race itself starts at 3.40pm local time, 9.40pm BST.
See also: Qualifying times
| Practice 2 times
| Practice 1 times