Brendon Hartley concluded Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda’s pre-season testing programme on Friday, and completed one hundred and fifty-nine laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the New Zealander delighted by the progress the team has made across the eight days of testing.
Hartley believes the pace and the reliability the team has shown across the testing period has surprised many, and the twenty-eight-year-old feels they can be an integral part of the midfield battle in 2018, which he expects to be as fierce as it was last season.
“It was another really good day today, we completed 159 laps within two hours from the end of the session,” said Hartley. “I drove the car in day one of test one, and I was able to drive on the last day, so I opened and closed the pre-season tests – it’s been great to see how much we have unlocked from the STR13 and all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
“The people watching back home might not realize but there’s so many people involved to get these cars working to perfection! I think we’re really in the mix and that we’re looking good for that midfield battle, which is really fierce.
“We’re starting to get a better picture of where we are in the fight, it was a really positive test and I think we’ve shown a lot more than what people expected… which is great!”
Hartley says the start the team has made in their relationship with Honda has been extremely strong, and heading into the first race of the new season in Australia in two weeks time there is a lot of positive vibes that they can start the year on the front foot.
“It’s been a strong start to the partnership with Honda, so I think everyone’s really positive after these test days and we’re really looking forward to Melbourne which luckily isn’t far away,” concluded Hartley.