Having narrowly missed out on a place in Q2 on Saturday afternoon during Qualifying for the German Grand Prix, Brendon Hartley was quietly confident that the teams long-run pace would be a key factor during Sunday’s 67 lap race.
Following a number of grid penalties around him, Brendon started from P16 and despite slipping back early on, it was from his first pitstop on lap 28 where he would start to make some real progress. Back up to P16, Brendon was constantly making inroads on those in front. His endurance racing experience would soon come to the fore, when a downpour of rain soaked the German circuit and made tyre strategy a lottery.
Despite a call to the pits, Brendon opted to remain on track with the slick Pirelli tyres to further evaluate the conditions, a decision that would be pivotal to his final result. When he did finally dive into the Toro Rosso pitbox, he chose to remain on slicks despite the ever changing conditions. Returning to the track, it became quickly evident that his call was perfect, with those around him on Intermediate and Wet weather tyres struggling as the track dried out almost as quickly as it was soaked.
In the closing stages of the race, now running in P9, Hartley was in an intense battle with Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz. Eventually the pair would find a way past, however a post-race penalty for Sainz would see Brendon return to P10 and with it, earn another vital Formula 1 Championship point.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“I’m happy with how today went. I lost some time behind the Williams at the beginning but I had some fun battles out there. We definitely had good pace on the harder compound tyre, but I struggled at the end when I moved onto the Ultrasoft. I was disappointed to lose a place to Grosjean but he had a lot more pace than me. I kept it clean and we made the right call to brave it and stay out when the rain came. The team and myself had great communication during the changing conditions and in the end it paid off. I also used some of my experience from endurance racing to help make the call, so I’m really happy with the race I did and to bring home one point.”
Round 12 – Hungarian Grand Prix, Sunday 29th July 2018.