It proved to be another impressive day for the Andretti drivers as Ryan Hunter-Reay and Takuma Sato took second and third respectively, but it was Fernando Alonso who stole the headlines by taking P4 for the third consecutive day.
When asked what the reaction to Alonso's participation has been like among the 32 drivers he will contest the Indy 500 alongside, Hinchcliffe told ESPN: "Just huge excitement to have a guy with his credentials and following to come here. I feel like our alone speed is actually pretty good compared to what the Hondas were running".
A two-time World Champion, the Spaniard will not race around the streets of Monte Carlo for the first time since 2002.
Andretti was third on the time sheet at 225.709 miles per hour in the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda, just ahead of Alonso, the two-time Formula One world champion making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut. "It's going to be about getting the balance not going off through the run".
Hunter-Reay was followed by team-mates Marco Andretti and Fernando Alonso, the McLaren-associated debutant maintaining strong form by placing fourth, racking up 96 laps of the oval, his best a 225.619. I think we found a good balance for traffic.
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"The driving technique is quite different", Alonso said.
"I'm feeling better and better, physically and also with the vehicle as well", Alonso said. I had seen a few races, but didn't know too much about the series.
The vehicle driven by Spencer Pigot hits the wall in the second turn during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Friday, May 19, 2017 in Indianapolis. Speeds are expected to increase in Friday's final practice day before qualifications for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing". That explains why de Ferran might just be Alonso's key Indy 500 weapon, given that motorsport is a world where all too often the benefits of coaching are overlooked or even derided.
Running continues on Saturday with the first stage of qualifying to decide which drivers make the Fast Nine shoot-out for pole position on Sunday.