Brendon Hartley leaves the Austrian Grand Prix feeling much happier with the overall balance of his Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13 after a significant overnight improvement to the car’s aero balance allowed him to work his way up the order and close to a points finish.
After a disappointing qualifying, Hartley took the opportunity to take on a new power unit for the race as the grid penalty would not affect his starting position. Getting off to a clean start, it wasn’t long before the race was neutralised with a virtual safety car to aid the recovery of Valtteri Bottas. Despite most teams opting to pit early, Hartley and his team chose to remain on track to improve their track position and go further into the race on the Pirelli Super Soft tyres.
With his times improving on every lap, it was clear that the current FIA World Endurance Champion was using his long distance racing skills to the max to get the most out of his package. Running on the same tyres for over 50 laps, the Kiwi was edging ever closer to a possible points finish as he sat in P11 with many in front suffering from unexpected tyre degradation. However on lap 54, Brendon’s race would come to an abrupt end when an issue on the car would force him to retire his STR13 to the side of the track exiting the first corner.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“We made a few changes to the aero balance compared to qualifying so I felt much better with the car today. In the first part of the race I seemed to struggle compared to the Saubers around me, but as the tyres got older, the car came alive and was getting stronger. Points were always going to be tough today, but I was battling with Ericsson and he finished 9th, so it’s a bit disappointing to see that! We were clearly really strong on tyres today but then something failed on the rear of the car. Initially I thought it was a puncture because I could feel something moving on the rear, but I’m not entirely sure what the issue is. We’ll look into the cause tonight and hopefully come back stronger next week in Silverstone.”
Round 10 – British Grand Prix, Sunday 8th July 2018.