Brendon Hartley admitted it was hard to make progress during the French Grand Prix, particularly after being forced to start at the back of the grid following an engine change penalty.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver enjoyed a battle in the early laps with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team’s Marcus Ericsson but found himself behind the Swede following the pit stop cycle, with the New Zealander finishing fourteenth at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
Hartley managed to get ahead of the two Williams Martini Racing drivers during the race, but he admitted it was always going to be a tough race for him after the enforced power unit change following his stoppage in second practice on Friday afternoon, the second engine failure in as many race weekends since Honda introduced their updated unit in the Canadian Grand Prix.
“It was a clean and good race, but starting last it was hard to make much headway,” said Hartley. “I had a good battle with Marcus early on, but he got me back during the pit stops.
“I kept out of trouble on the first lap – a couple of cars cut the chicane and I didn’t make up much ground, but at least I was able to keep the car safe. I wish we could have made some more progress but ultimately we didn’t have the pace today.
“I moved forward and got by the two Williams, but I don’t think there was much more we could do in the race, it’s tricky when you start at the back.”