New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley has stormed to a superb points finish in Austin, despite starting the race from the back of the grid following a series of grid penalties due to his Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13 being fitted with several new engine components coming into the weekend.
Hartley was hoping that he could mark his one year anniversary in style coming into the US Grand Prix weekend, however his hopes were dampened somewhat when he realised that he would be forced to suffer a number of grid penalties in the race. Nevertheless, the crew set about focusing their energies on a strong race setup ahead of Sunday’s 56 lap race.
When the race got under way on Sunday afternoon local time, Hartley got off to a strong start during the opening laps. Choosing to remain on track during an early VSC period to recover the stricken Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, by the mid-point in the race Hartley now found himself well inside the top 10.
Following his pitstop, Brendon briefly dropped back to P15 before the eventual shuffle of positions saw him return back up to P11. From there, the Kiwi would find himself in a battle for position with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson. However the Toro Rosso driver would maintain the advantage, something that would become all too important post-race.
When the race had completed, post-race investigations found fuel usage irregularities for Esteban Ocon and Kevin Magnussen, meaning both would be excluded and in turn prompted Brendon into a superb points finish in P9 overall as his reward for a strong US Grand Prix race performance to lead the charge home for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“Really happy with my performance and race today which was rewarded with two points. I was aggressive when I needed to be and did a good job with the tyres, the team gave me good info from the pits and the mechanics did a good pit stop – a team effort! From last on the grid to P9 was the max we could do today, and I’m happy with the aggression I showed and how the race went. Even if the points haven’t come, I have been very strong in all the last races and am very motivated and optimistic for the rest of the season and beyond.”
Round 19 – Mexico Grand Prix, Sunday 28th October 2018.