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How the 2013 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg unfolded

Laps 1-27

Everyone smoothly navigates the opening turn, a notorious yellow flag magnet. By Lap 18, pole sitter Will Power leads by more than 11 seconds. … Moments after a pit stop following Lap 18, 2011 champ Dario Franchitti, who had struggled all weekend with his Target car, hits the wall in Turn 4. "I was trying to make up for it somewhere on the track and I just stepped over the line there on cold tires," Franchitti says. … The yellow flag extends to Lap 26. Power, who had made a pit stop six laps before, leads the field into Turn 1 of the restart before defending champ Helio Castroneves gets him on the next turn. "Helio just took off," Power says. "There's no rules here. They never seem to enforce them." … A quintent of drivers are involved in an incident at Turn 9, apparently spawned when Ana Beatriz hits Charlie Kimball. … JR Hildebrand spins in Turn 10 after contact with Sebastian Saavedra, prompting the day's second yellow flag.

Leaders after 27 laps

Laps 28-55

The green flag returns for Lap 32, where Castroneves leads the field into Turn 1. Meantime, Hinchcliffe gets around Power for second place. At this point, the top four cars are all Chevrolets. … At Lap 45, a yellow flag comes out for debris on Turn 14, prompting the leaders to make a pit stop. Oriol Servia, who did not pit, beats Castroneves to the blend line, marking his first lead in a Series race since the 2011 Indy 500. The green flag returns for Lap 55, with Servia maintaining his lead.

Leaders after 55 laps

Laps 56-83

Racing continues as a sprawling storm front looms just to the north. ... Servia hits the pits on Lap 62, and Castroneves retakes the lead. Servia's car stalls emerging from the pits, snuffing out his chances for the day. Two laps later, reigning series champ Ryan Hunter-Reay falls from contention with a prolonged pit stop stemming from a throttle issue. … By Lap 72, Castroneves' lead builds to slightly more than four seconds. … A caution comes out on Lap 74 when Saavedra hits the tire barrier on Turn 10. … The caution is extended when Hildebrand essentially rear-ends Power on Lap 80, going over his left side and hitting the wall in Turn 9. Power sustains mirror and right-rear tire damage. "It was totally my fault and I'm super sorry for Will," Hildebrand says.

Leaders after 83 laps

Laps 84-110

On the Lap 85 restart, Hinchcliffe takes the lead when Castroneves gets a little loose and runs wide in Turn 1. "It was a long re-start," Castroneves says. "I don't think I warmed up the tires enough." … On the next-to-last lap, de Silvestro runs wide on Turn 14 on shot tires, allowing Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan to slip past her for third and fourth place, respectively. "For me, it felt like a win," says Andretti, a meager 16th in last season's Series point standings. … Hinchcliffe never surrenders the lead after overtaking Castroneves, beating the defending champ by 1.0982 seconds.

Leaders after 110 laps

How the 2013 Grand Prix of St. Petersburg unfolded 03/24/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 24, 2013 8:39pm]
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