Brendon Hartley is hoping he can capitalise on a potentially eventful race tomorrow at Russia’s Sochi Autodrom, where he will start from the back of the grid as the Scuderia Toro Rosso team opt to take a series of engine penalties ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Spending the weekend’s three Free Practice sessions working through a programme of development work in conjunction with Honda, who introduced a hotly anticipated new engine package, early signs were showing that the upgrade will bring significant benefits to the team’s pace. However, keen to preserve their performance for the Japanese Grand Prix, the team have opted to revert back to the older specification engine for tomorrow’s race.
Nevertheless, their long run pace remains strong, leaving Brendon confident that he can keep with the main field and ready to capitalise on any drama that may ensue at a circuit that has thrown up some surprises in the past coming into the tricky first corner.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“We didn’t put a lot of emphasis on Qualifying today because of the penalties we will incur tomorrow. Yesterday was a big exercise for Honda introducing a new power unit, but the decision was made not to use it for the rest of the weekend. It is definitely quicker, there’s no question marks there, but we want it to be perfect for Japan and make sure everything works as it should. What also makes it a tough race for us is starting from the back. Our long run pace yesterday looked promising on the Soft tyre, so I think there could still be a bit to play for tomorrow. We’ve seen a few incidents here in the past, it’s a tricky first corner because it tightens up after the long straight off the start line, so we’ll see what happens tomorrow – we will still aim to do our best.”
Race – 53 Laps
14:10 – 16:10 (Local Time – UTC+3)
00:10 – 02:10 (New Zealand – UTC+12)