Having secured his place in Q2 for the second time in only his third Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, Brendon Hartley was hoping his continued improvement would help to achieve his ongoing ambition to secure his first Formula 1 World Championship points this year during Sunday’s 71 lap Grand Prix.
Race starts have been his Achilles heel so far as the New Zealander is more familiar with rolling starts from his last four seasons in the World Endurance Championship. Having opted to utilise Saturday’s Q2 to save their tyre options for the race and perfect his starting procedure, as the lights went out their hard work was initially worthwhile with a good getaway off the line. Hartley’s efforts however were hindered with the slow starting Lance Stroll requiring Brendon to swing right in avoidance and putting him on the back foot going into the first corner.
With drama a plenty, a number of incidents through the opening sequence of corners brought out the Safety Car at the end of the opening lap, not before Brendon had capitalised on the drama to move into 12th.
Hartley was now set to suffer a drama of his own, loosing radio communications with the team for a number of laps, particularly during the Safety Car restart. Managing the race alone, some laps later he eventually managed to repair the issue and restore his link to the Toro Rosso Pitwall. Lapping consistently, Hartley was now having to manage a developing engine issue that on lap 40 would lead to his retirement, high oil consumption being the underlining issue.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“It’s a shame that I had to retire, but I’m happy with the part of the race I competed in – I had a really good start and that was the first box ticked. I had to get around Stroll because he sort of stalled in front of me, but all the procedures that we’ve been working on were really good. During the first lap I lost a place to Pierre, which was a bit annoying, but after that I think I drove a pretty good race. I lost radio communication with my engineer for a long time, so that was tricky, especially during the Safety Car restart, trying to remember all the things I had to do! It took me about ten laps to get the radio plugged in again – it was quite difficult to find the hole! I think that we could’ve finished the race just behind Pierre if we hadn’t suffered a high oil consumption… We knew that there was a problem early on in the race, as I had to start transferring oil – I didn’t want to ask, but I had the feeling that we were not going to get to the end and we didn’t. Hopefully we can have a better race next time out in Abu Dhabi and close the season on a high!”
World Endurance Championship – 6 Hours of Bahrain – Saturday 18th November 2017
Formula 1 – Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Sunday 26th November 2017