Helio Castroneves set the pace for Team Penske on the opening day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 as James Hinchcliffe became a surprise casualty of 'Bump Day', failing to qualify for the race.

With 35 cars vying for 33 places on the starting grid for the Indy 500 next weekend, the opening day of qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw a return of the 'Bump Day' format that allowed drivers multiple attempts to rise up the order.

Following his return to IndyCar race action in the Indianapolis GP earlier this month, Castroneves continued his impressive form in the fourth Penske entry by leading the timesheets with a four-lap average of 228.919 mph, finishing ahead of Ed Carpenter and Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power.

One year on from the qualifying crash that left him with a broken leg, Sebastien Bourdais qualified fifth for Dale Coyne Racing ahead of Spencer Pigot and Josef Newgarden, while Scott Dixon was able to squeeze into the 'Fast 9' with a second attempt late in qualifying. Danica Patrick also locked herself in to a starting place on the front three rows, qualifying ninth.

However, the biggest drama came at the back of the grid as 2016 Indy 500 pole-sitter Hinchcliffe failed to qualify for the race. Hinchcliffe was the first driver to take to the track following a two-hour rain delay, turning in a tame four-lap average of 224.784 mph.

While it was good enough to qualify at the time it was set, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports banked on the drivers who were slower than Hinchcliffe not improving, only for Conor Daly and Oriol Servia to shuffle the Canadian outside of the top 33.

Hinchcliffe was put in the fast lane to try and get in a late effort to qualify, but a severe vibration on the car prompted him to wave the effort off, putting him outside of the top 33.

Pippa Mann was the other driver who failed to qualify, with her best effort being 0.4 mph short of James Davison, who was the last driver on the bubble in P33.

Qualifying for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 will continue on Sunday, with the top nine drivers from Saturday's session vying for pole positions. Drivers in positions 10 to 33 will have the chance to improve their times, with their efforts from Saturday being deleted. However, they will not be able to start inside the top nine.


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