Brendon Hartley has completed the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix in P11 after a storming drive from P16 on the grid.
Following a disappointing qualifying session where the New Zealand driver narrowly missed out on a place in Q2, Brendon and his crew were hoping their bold race strategy would play a key part in turning their fortunes around in the race.
Opting to start the race on Pirelli’s Medium compound tyre and run a long opening stint, their plan was then to pit late and move to the Super-soft tyre for a rapid final stint. Keeping his nose clean during the opening laps, Hartley set off on a consistent run of laps, preserving his tyres to ensure they would last the distance.
By lap 43, Brendon was now up to P10 overall and just seven laps later he dived into the pits to move over to the Super-soft tyres. A superb pitstop by the Toro Rosso team had him quickly back on track to resume his charge over the final 20 laps of the race. Coming out onto the circuit just behind teammate Pierre Gasly, Brendon rapidly closed in on the Frenchman. Feeling he had the pace to potentially challenge for the first of the points scoring positions, Hartley was unable to find a way past Gasly until lap 69, at which point it was too late to close down Perez for P10.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“That was a really good race for me, it’s annoying you don’t get to score points as a reward, but there weren’t any retirements at the front to capitalise on. I started on the harder compound so it was a bit tricky for me during the first few laps, but still I had a strong start and made some good overtakes. To make our race work, I knew I would have to keep the tyres alive as long as possible on the first stint, I had great feedback from the pit wall and the strategy worked well. I felt this was one of the best performances of my F1 career but without the reward of points. The team will work hard over the next few weeks to understand why we had such good race pace in Mexico, but struggled two weeks later here in Brazil.”
Round 21 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Sunday 25th November 2018.