Brendon Hartley feels the high winds at the Shanghai International Circuit on Saturday prevented Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda from showing their true pace, with the New Zealander unable to better fifteenth on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The two-time winner of the FIA World Endurance Championship feels Toro Rosso suffer more than their rivals when the wind is stronger, and they will need to work out just why the pace was not as strong this weekend as it was seven days ago in Bahrain.
“We had a little issue on my car yesterday but we solved that overnight, both of us have been struggling on this track compared to Bahrain,” said Hartley. “There’s a number of contributors; the temperature is very different and the wind is very high here.
“We saw it in Melbourne as well, we seemed to suffer more when the wind picked up compared to the other cars. In Bahrain, we had a stronger car and now we have to figure out why it wasn’t the same story here, but that just shows how competitive this midfield battle is.”
Hartley believes it could be a completely different story during the race if the temperatures are higher and the wind is in a different direction, and as a result, he believes a first top ten finish of his Formula 1 career could be on the cards.
“I think this track can promote some overtaking and a bit of racing and I believe the temperature will be warmer tomorrow as well,” said Hartley. “In the race, things could completely turn around just because of the change in temperature and wind – that’s how sensitive these modern Formula 1 cars are.
“I’m staying positive and I think points are possible from P15. All in all, I was pretty happy with the job I did today.”