Fresh from securing his second FIA World Endurance Championship Drivers title for Porsche with teammates Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard last weekend in Shanghai, Brendon Hartley returns to Scuderia Toro Rosso this weekend for his third Formula 1 Grand Prix start in Brazil.
After suffering an early retirement at the last race in Mexico, the Kiwi continues to set his sights firmly on a points finish before the end of this season. However his efforts were dealt an early blow on Friday morning when an engine problem left him on the side-lines for the entire opening Free Practice session of the weekend. Forced to make up for lost time, Hartley made the most of the remaining free practice running around a circuit he last visited with the World Endurance Championship in 2014.
Encouraged by his increasing pace going into qualifying, Hartley remained optimistic that his chances of a points finish from the weekend remained on course. Setting a good lap early on to open his account, the New Zealander returned to the track towards the end of the session to improve his best effort, securing 15th overall and qualification to the second part of qualifying.
Following his engine woes in Free Practice one, Brendon had been served with a 10-place grid penalty for the race, so instead of going for an outright lap time, the team chose to save their tyre options for the race and allow Brendon to practice his starts ahead of the penultimate race of the 2017 Formula 1 World Championship.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“Not a bad day, I’m pretty happy to have got through to Q2 today! We then didn’t go out to set a time in Q2 in order to save all the tyres and keep all the options available for tomorrow’s race, so we just used the session to do a couple of practice starts – something I needed considering my first two starts in F1 haven’t been the best… Hopefully this pays dividends tomorrow! It’s going to be quite a tough ask to finish in the points, but we’re definitely going to try, do our best and push for that – I’m really looking forward to the race!”
12/11/17 – 14:00 – Local Time (GMT-2)
12/11/17 – 17:00 – Paris (GMT+1)
13/11/17 – 05:00 – Auckland (GMT +13)