Scuderia Toro Rosso‘s Brendon Hartley was spoken of his need for a holiday as he looks forward to his first weekend free of racing commitments for seven weeks. Since joining Toro Rosso, in order to keep his commitments to the Porsche LMP1 Team, the Kiwi has untaken an intercontinental marathon of seven races from seven weekends; starting with the Fuji 6 Hours in October, before taking in F1’s US/Mexican double-header, before returning to Asia for the Shanghai 6 Hours. Hartley would return again to the Americas for the Brazilian Grand Prix and cap-off his slog with a Middle-Eastern double-header of the Bahrain 6 Hours and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“It’s been a massive learning curve for me during these last few weeks and I’m well overdue a holiday! I’m looking forward to recovering, having some downtime, preparing well for 2018 and coming back even stronger for my first full F1 season!”
Talking of his weekend, Brendon had candidly admitted after qualifying that he had underperformed – leaving him over a second slower than team-mate Pierre Gasly – but professed to have been happier with his race: “Going back to this weekend, I had a pretty clean race. I was in a train of cars – a McLaren, a Haas, a Sauber, myself and Pierre behind… It’s just very tricky to overtake here with these big downforce cars.”
“It was always going to be an uphill struggle for us to hang on to that sixth place in the championship and it’s a real shame to lose it…I’m obviously massively disappointed. On the positive side, I have to say that during these last few weeks with the team I’ve learned a lot and already feel like at home – this is something very important to take into next year.”
Hartley and team-mate Gasly were confirmed as Toro Rosso’s line-up for 2018 prior to the Abu Dhabi finale.