Brendon Hartley returned to Shanghai, a circuit that has seen the Kiwi driver achieve great success over the last number of years while racing for Porsche in the FIA World Endurance Championship for this weekend’s Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Leading up to qualifying, Hartley had appeared to be struggling to replicate the pace both he and teammate Pierre Gasly had shown at the last round in Bahrain, predominantly due to very different air temperatures and wind speeds at the Chinese circuit. Going into qualifying however, Brendon was hopeful of a return to Q2 to get himself as high up the order for Sunday’s race.
As ever, qualifying was a close affair with positions changing on every lap. With the chequered flag flying, Brendon was on his last flying lap and his superb effort promoted him into the top 15 and secured his move into Q2. Evidently still feeling the effects of the diverse weather conditions, Hartley’s initial effort put him well up the order. However as the session progressed, he was finally classified P15 ahead of tomorrow’s race.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“We had a little issue on my car yesterday but we solved that overnight, both of us have been struggling on this track compared to Bahrain. There’s a number of contributors; the temperature is very different and the wind is very high here. We saw it in Melbourne as well, we seemed to suffer more when the wind picked up compared to the other cars. In Bahrain, we had a stronger car and now we have to figure out why it wasn’t the same story here, but that just shows how competitive this midfield battle is. I think this track can promote some overtaking and a bit of racing and I believe the temperature will be warmer tomorrow as well. In the race, things could completely turn around just because of the change in temperature and wind – that’s how sensitive these modern Formula 1 cars are. I’m staying positive and I think points are possible from P15. All in all, I was pretty happy with the job I did today.”