Brendon Hartley admitted to being frustrated on missing out on advancing into the second phase of Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday, feeling he could have got some more pace out of his STR13.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver missed out on getting through to Q2 by less than a tenth of a second, and without the errors he made on his final lap, he could have made it through, but ultimately he will start the first race of the new season from sixteenth on the grid.
“It was a little frustrating today, I think one tenth would have moved us up a few places and the car definitely had it in it,” said Hartley. “In the last lap there were a couple of small errors and it’s frustrating to be so close to the cut off to Q2.
“I knew there would be huge track evolution through the run but we decided to go out first – a lot earlier than the other car – which could be considered a disadvantage but it gave us the option to maybe do two laps at the end.
“I think it was the right call, I just didn’t quite get everything out of it to get to Q2. The good thing is the car was definitely quick enough to get to Q2 today.”
Hartley feels passing around the Albert Park circuit will be difficult to achieve, but the has hopes that Toro Rosso’s first race with Honda as their engine supplier ends in a positive manner.
“This morning was really encouraging in mixed conditions and equally on the long run yesterday, so I think our strength is our long run pace,” said the Kiwi. “Once this said, this track it’s probably one of the hardest on the calendar to pass – it’s a tall order!
“Tyre degradation will be a big story, so maybe managing tyres and a good strategy can bring us into the game. We’re in that midfield battle, passing will be hard tomorrow and we’ll do our best…we’ll have to wait and see.”