Formula 1

Brendon Hartley: “I was really looking forward to my first Monza GP”

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Brendon Hartley - Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda - Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Credit: Peter Fox/Getty Images

Brendon Hartley admitted he was looking forward to his first Italian Grand Prix, but the New Zealander’s Sunday afternoon drive was over before the first corner after contact with Marcus Ericsson broke his right-front suspension.

The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver felt he was driving well throughout the weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, and although he was eliminated in the first segment of Qualifying on Saturday, he was very close to the pace set by team-mate Pierre Gasly, who started inside the top ten.

Hartley did not think Ericsson’s move was that aggressive, but it cost him his place in the race, and although he enjoyed watching it, he would have much preferred to have been a part of it for its duration.

“I was really looking forward to my first Monza GP,” admitted Hartley.  “I felt very strong all weekend and was very close to Pierre in Qualifying – even if that meant starting a few positions lower on the grid – I was confident of having a strong race.

“Unfortunately, right after the start, Ericsson moved a little bit to the left trying to pass me. It wasn’t that aggressive what he did, but it was enough to put an end to my day before Turn 1.

“It’s been a great race to watch from the outside, but of course I would have preferred to be on track and finish the race.”

Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe was frustrated with the weekend Toro Rosso ultimately had with both drivers suffering on Sunday after contact, but there are races coming up that should suit the STR13, especially the Singapore Grand Prix later this month.

“A disappointing outcome to the team’s home race, partly caused by both cars being involved in collisions,” said Tanabe.  “In Brendon’s case, this happened shortly after the start when he was hit by a Sauber and had to retire.

“As for Pierre, there was a collision with a McLaren after the safety car period and that upset the balance of his car which meant he could not repeat the pace we had seen earlier in the weekend.

“This was not the best end to the European part of the season, but now we will just focus on the remaining races, starting with Singapore, a track which should be better suited to the characteristics of our package.”

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