Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Hartley doubts Toro Rosso’s Bahrain performance was a one-off

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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Brendon Hartley says he expects Toro Rosso to continue the competitive form they shows in Bahrain when the F1 season continues in Shanghai this weekend.

Pierre Gasly qualified fifth and finished fourth while Hartley suffered a more trying weekend and failed to score. However he believes the team’s newfound pace won’t prove to be a one-off.

“The updates and the set-up change we made drastically improved the car,” he said. “I see no reason why it should only be in Bahrain we had this great race car.”

The improvement in the STR13 was obvious from his first lap with the upgrade in final practice, said Hartley.

“Even after the install I said ‘wow guys, we’ve really made a good step in the right direction.'”

The most noticeable gains came from the car’s balance while cornering. “It’s all very well having a great amount of grip in the mid-corner,” he said, “but it’s the balance you have in the different phases of the corner which can really make a big different as well. Immediately we saw a big improvement.

“Also medium-high speed, there was definitely more load. I think from my first lap in P3 there was a huge difference compared to the day before.”

Gasly says this weekend’s race will be a useful benchmark for how well the car will perform at other circuits.

“I think definitely we understood much more about our car potential, car setup, about the tyres,” he said. “But still we need confirmation and I think this weekend will be a good opportunity to judge our baseline and see if the potential is the same on other tracks.

“Definitely we need to be quite careful. Bahrain has been so good for us and I don’t know if it’s going to be similar on other tracks. So yeah, hopefully it’s going to be the same but we’ll find out tomorrow.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Hartley doubts Toro Rosso’s Bahrain performance was a one-off”

  1. Pierre Gasly qualified fifth and finished fourth

    Or better: ‘Pierre Gasly qualified sixth, started fifth, and finished fourth’.

  2. One thing for sure, ToroHonda will be faster than McLaren.

    1. Not so sure about that. Bahrain was a stop start track, where a good front end is needed. China is a completely different type of circuit which theoretically should suit mclaren better going by the pace in Australia. The only downside of Mclaren’s weekend in Bahrain was qualifying. Their race pace was as good as gasly and better than hulk, but Alonso was stuck behind him all race.

      1. Hulk was faster than magnuseen and alonso almost all the race, at the end both alonso and hulk were managing the pace

        1. Alonso was faster than hulk considering the different tyres they were on and considering that Alonso was under a second behind numerous times but failed to get a good exit from the last corner to overtake on the main straight. That was one of Mclaren’s weaknesses because of the track layout not suiting their chassis. Of course watching the race is different to analysing lap times afterwards because hulks laps might have been a bit faster in a lot of cases but it doesn’t change the fact that Alonso was running on different tyres and in his dirty air a lot of the time.

    2. define sure

      1. it depends upon what the definition of for sure, sure?

  3. McLaren’s original philosophy was to risk that They with Honda could compete with Mercedes works team asap. Torro Rosso finished 56 seconds behind Lewis who started further back.
    Finishing almost 1 minute behind in 4th with faster cars dropping out is probably not something they still aspire to. Alonso got sick of being 2nd. He’ll only kick himself if Honda win the world championship.

    1. Oh for sure. It is ridiculous to suggest, as Herbert did for example last weekend, that Mac might be regretting their decision. It is a tough one they had to make half a year ago when things were only looking dire. And it’s done. No point dwelling. They did their wrestling with what to do about a pu last year. Now it’s done and dusted.

      I think on average STR will struggle more than succeed this season, and that Mac will place higher than them on average each race and over the season.

      1. That is what we expected. But what is Happening, STR Honda improved even more.

    2. @bigjoe

      Finishing almost 1 minute behind in 4th with faster cars dropping out is probably not something they still aspire to. He’ll only kick himself if Honda win the world championship.

      It wois something to aspire to considering their Red bull juniors (I mean 2008 aside I guess). If the engine works that well Red Bull will take it, and they’d hope to fight for the championship.

    3. Joseph
      I can with some confidence say Honda will not win the drivers or constructors championship during this formula. I am more that happy to eat humble pie if the do, even if Red Bull decides to use them in 19 or 20.

  4. Well if the Honda has actually come good, almost no better track to demonstrate it than China. I’m getting fed up with the TR self-congratulating. They were very loud during testing, and then mighty quiet for a couple of weeks after Melbourne. Now we’re back to Franz Tost self-designating himself a damn genius for the switch, and of course taking shots at Mclaren.

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