Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda‘s Brendon Hartley says this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix is the race he looks forward to the most, as he say it’ll feel like a home race.
The New Zealand born driver alongside new team-mate Pierre Gasly, will kick off the new Honda powered era within the Italian team in Melbourne.
The pair have a couple of race starts to their names, having entered the sport late on last year. But both will race around Albert Park for the first time in their F1 careers.
Looking ahead to the season opener, Hartely says that Australia is probably the race he looks forward to the most as it’s closest to his homeland, New Zealand.
“Thinking about Australia it’s probably the race I’m looking forward to the most.” said Hartley.
“It’s the first race of the season and it’s been a few months since all of us got to take the race start, so there’s a lot of adrenaline and excitement.
“Also, it will almost feel like a home race for me.
“There’s clearly a big difference between Australia and New Zealand, anytime you talk to an Aussie or a Kiwi you learn that pretty quickly!”
Whilst the Australian crowd will give a cheer to their home driver Daniel Ricciardo throughout the weekend, the former WEC Porsche driver said be is hoping to see a couple of Kiwi flags around the circuit.
Hartley also mentions how the two countries of Australia and New Zealand maybe rivals in sport, but overall have a lot in common with each other.
“When I was back home in New Zealand, every second or third person I spoke to said they were coming to Australia, so I’m hoping to see a few Kiwi flags around which will be quite a special moment for me!” Hartley continued.
“Some of my very good friends are Aussies – we always have this rivalry, especially in sport – but I find that when we’re away from Australia or New Zealand and come across each other in Europe we always have a lot in common and get along very well.
“So the rivalry isn’t as bad as people might think.”