Brendon Hartley felt much more confident with his STR13 during the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday than he did in the free practice and Qualifying sessions, but the New Zealander’s bad luck continued as a mechanical issue saw his race curtailed on lap fifty-four.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver had started from the rear of the field after another engine change and after some tweaks to the car he was more comfortable behind the wheel, and was fighting with Marcus Ericsson when his troubles hit.
He initially pulled off the track at the final turn as he struggled with the car, and although he returned to the circuit, he slowed again down the start/finish straight and ultimately pulled off the track at turn three to retire.
Ericsson went on to score points on Sunday, which makes the retirement that even more painful for Hartley, but he is aiming to come back stronger this coming weekend in the British Grand Prix aiming for only his second top ten result of the campaign.
“We made a few changes to the aero balance compared to qualifying so I felt much better with the car today,” said Hartley. “In the first part of the race I seemed to struggle compared to the Saubers around me, but as the tyres got older, the car came alive and was getting stronger.
“Points were always going to be tough today, but I was battling with Ericsson and he finished tenth, so it’s a bit disappointing to see that! We were clearly really strong on tyres today but then something failed on the rear of the car.
“Initially I thought it was a puncture because I could feel something moving on the rear, but I’m not entirely sure what the issue is. We’ll look into the cause tonight and hopefully come back stronger next week in Silverstone.”