Brendon Hartley had a much-needed positive day at the Suzuka International Racing Course, with the New Zealander using the updated Honda power unit to good effect to end the afternoon session in tenth position.
The Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda driver has endured a torrid season and finds himself looking increasingly likely to be leaving the team at the end of the year, but after acclimatising himself to the Suzuka circuit in the morning session – it is his first visit to the track in his career – he jumped into the top ten in the afternoon.
Hartley says his first day in Suzuka was an enjoyable one and he feels the pace of the STR13 looks to be competitive, and he will head into rest of the weekend looking to maximise his potential and secure what would be only his third top ten result of the year.
“I had a really enjoyable first day in Suzuka,” said Hartley, who’s best lap of 1:30.502 was 0.293 seconds faster than the best time of team-mate Pierre Gasly. “I spent the first couple of runs in FP1 getting up to speed with the track and I really like it around here.
“We made a few changes during the session that was clearly in the right direction, and we made a good step to get the car more in line with how I like it for FP2. The pace looks quite competitive as I finished the session in P10, so it’s a positive feeling heading into tomorrow.”