Brendon Hartley: “I’m still smiling because I’ve made progress compared to last week”

Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Brendon Hartley may have had the disappointment of retiring from the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday, but the New Zealander felt he had made significant progress with his driving at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Following his debut seven days prior in the United States Grand Prix, which came with no opportunity to test before hand, Hartley had a much more competitive weekend in Mexico, making it through to Q2 for the first time during Saturday’s Qualifying session, although that session and the race were curtailed early with engine failures, stopping on track at the same place – on the straight between turns six and seven – on both days.

The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, who is in pole position to line-up for the Faenza-based team in 2018 alongside Pierre Gasly, said it would have been nice for him to have seen the chequered flag, particularly as he was enjoying the battles on Sunday, but with two races to go, he is hoping for even more progress in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, and possibly a points finish.

“It’s always disappointing not to finish a race, so I’m not the happiest man today but I’m still smiling because I’ve made progress compared to last week in Austin,” said Hartley.

“It’s just a shame that the race was cut short and it’s been quite a tough weekend: issues on Friday, I then couldn’t make progress in yesterday’s Q2 once the engine went and in today’s race I lost power at the end of the straight line, then saw the white smoke and was asked to stop…

“It would’ve been good to get to the end of the race because I was enjoying all the battles!  I now look forward to the next couple of races, hopefully things will go smoother than today, get to the end of the race and see where we end up!”