After his second retirement in three Formula 1 races, Brendon Hartley is looking to finish his busy year strongly for Scuderia Toro Rosso.
The New Zealander suffered yet another mechanical problem following on from a nightmarish Mexican Grand Prix weekend – this time due to an oil consumption problem.
Despite the early end, Hartley was satisfied with his performance.
“It’s a shame that I had to retire, but I’m happy with the part of the race I competed in.” said the two-time World Endurance Champion.
“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 [Gasly], which was a bit annoying, but after that I think I drove a pretty good race.”
Oil wasn’t the only headache for Hartley, who lost radio transmission in the opening stages of the race managing to reconnect with the pit wall before his retirement.
“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!”
Hartley believes that he could have finished just behind team-mate Gasly – who finished in twelfth after being hit with a 25 place grid penalty. Hartley also suffered a ten place penalty for further exceeding the amount of power unit components allowed.
“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.”
Toro Rosso now sit just four points ahead of the Renault Sport Formula One Team in the Constructors’ Championship after a war of words broke out at the start of the weekend, with the French marque threatening to withdraw their supply of engines to Toro Rosso for the Abu Dhabi weekend.
Hartley is keen to end the season on a more positive note – if he has the components – as he looks to secure a full-time seat for the 2018 season.
“Hopefully we can have a better race next time out in Abu Dhabi and close the season on a high.”