Brendon Hartley admitted it was ‘surprisingly tricky’ to jump back into his Porsche LMP1 Team car during last weekend’s 6 Hours of Shanghai after two race weekends racing for Scuderia Toro Rosso in the United States and Mexican Grand Prix.
The New Zealander return to the FIA World Endurance Championship in China and did enough alongside team-mates Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard to claim the Drivers’ title to add alongside their 24 Hours of Le Mans crown they earned in June.
“It was actually surprisingly tricky to jump back into the car,” said Hartley during the Thursday Press Conference ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix. “I thought I was going to feel right at home – it’s been my home for the last four years – but it took a couple of laps for it to feel comfortable again.
“The seating position’s quite different from Formula 1, having a roof over your head, different perspective – but yeah, after five laps I felt back at home.”
The busy schedule for Hartley – the twenty-eight-year-old is racing for a sixth consecutive race weekend across three different categories this weekend in Brazil – means that taking the World Endurance Championship crown has yet to truly sink in, and it is likely to be when the racing season is over that it finally sinks in what kind of crazy 2017 he has had.
“In terms of rationalising things, I guess I’ve tried to not overthink it and I’ve just… yeah… even winning the championship hasn’t really sunk in. I haven’t really had time to reflect,” said Hartley.
“It probably helps that I’m just going from one weekend to the next. I think this is my sixth race in a row. It won’t be until I get home at the end of the year after all the racing’s over that I’ll be able to reflect and fully understand what’s just happened to me.
“I’m well aware that making my Grand Prix debut and Le Mans victory and World Endurance Championship… I mean they’re all amazing things but at the moment I’m just trying to take one step at a time and try to stay focussed and catch up on as much sleep as I can.”