Brendon Hartley was unlucky to miss out on another points scoring finish in the Mexican Grand Prix yesterday despite showing superb pace during the race.
Having performed well in Free Practice and Qualifying, Hartley started from P14 and was confident that he could repeat his US Grand Prix start to rapidly move up the order. However despite getting a good start, he was forced to take avoiding action and locked up his brakes going into turn four on the opening lap, flat spotting his tyres and requiring an early trip to the pits.
Opting to move over to what would effectively be a one-stop strategy, Brendon used his extensive endurance racing experience to preserve his tyres during the middle stint, on a circuit that is widely known to cause aggressive tyre wear. Rocketing up the order, Brendon was challenging the Force India of Esteban Ocon before contact between the pair dropped him slightly down the order, but crucially, damaged the floor of his Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13. A questionable five-second penalty would later be handed down to the Kiwi driver for his part in the incident, which combined with the damage would see him nurse his way home to a P14 finish.
Brendon Hartley – #28 Scuderia Toro Rosso:
“I had a good start. It was a little bit of a mess going into Turn 4, a car pulled in front just before braking, I locked the brakes and flat spotted the Supersofts. Unfortunately, we had to pit on lap one and after that I effectively did a one stop race from there. I think it was a solid race with really strong tyre management. I defended heavily against Ocon, so it’s a shame I got a 5-second penalty when we made some contact. Without the damage and penalty from the contact I would have been P10, and without the flat spot on lap one we had the pace to be even further up. The pace this weekend is very encouraging but the final outcome a little disappointing.”
Round 20 – Brazilian Grand Prix, Sunday 11th November 2018.