Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Hartley denies team’s claim Gasly’s car was damaged in US Grand Prix

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Brendon Hartley rejected his team’s claim Pierre Gasly’s car suffered damage in last week’s United States Grand Prix, insisting he beat his team mate on merit.

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost said yesterday Hartley must “improve his performance” to stay at the team for the 2019 F1 season.

Hartley responded by saying he has raised his game. He claimed his United States Grand Prix result, where he finished three places ahead of his team mate in ninth, was an example of that.

“I’ve improved all season and I haven’t always been given the opportunity in the races with having a strategy that would help the other car,” said Hartley. It’s been very close on lap time in qualifying but just missing out and that being the difference between points. But I feel I have got stronger all season.

“I proved that in Austin. Despite what it says in the press release there was nothing wrong with the other car in the race. I simply did a really good performance and was really happy to score those two points.

“In Suzuka I was strong, the races before, I know I’m doing a good job and I know I’ve been a big help to the team in terms of development with Honda and I’ve been a team player all season.”

Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2018
Gasly told media his car had been damaged
Tost was quoted in Toro Rosso’s post-race press release saying “Pierre went straight at turn five on the first lap to prevent a collision with the cars that crashed in front of him, and unfortunately damaged the floor. As a consequence, his car lost downforce and was quite unstable under braking, so he could not be able to catch up to the rest of the field.”

Gasly also told media after the race his car was damaged at the start. “There was carbon pieces everywhere. I had to go through it and damaged the car from the first lap.

“That really lost a lot of grip all through the race and was already difficult with the tyres but made our life much tougher.”

Hartley ran Toro Rosso’s new aerodynamic upgrade for the first time yesterday after Gasly sampled it in Austin. “I feel much more comfortable with the car today and the time sheets showed it,” said Hartley after ending second practice ahead of the two Mercedes drivers.

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11 comments on “Hartley denies team’s claim Gasly’s car was damaged in US Grand Prix”

  1. Not sure it’s wise to go and dispute a position his team and teammate has taken, but, I do think that in the end points are points, and Hartley did better in Austin than his teammate. He also had quite a bit of bad things happening to/around him, which makes it hard to judge him. I don’t know, would be interesting to see him against Kvyat next year, but he hasn’t been able yet to make a convincing case for it (though perhaps good enough that dr. Marko is content to wait until December to decide, instead of just signing Albon, so that’s something).

  2. Even if Brendon’s right and he had a strong US Grand Prix, see what it did for Kvyat last year: nothing.
    I do think there is still hope for Brendon, he looked strong in free practise yesterday and if he can deliver solid performances until the end of the season I think Marko will give him another chance. After all, Gasly got promoted to Red Bull so the bar that he’s setting must be reseasonably high. Also, Toro Rosso have never been good at giving equal opportunities to both drivers; there is always a strategic mess-up, unreliability, only a single upgrade package instead of two and generally a 50-50 chance that their upgrades work throughout the season.

  3. He’s been so annoying with his comments lately. No he wasn’t strong in Japan, he was nowhere in the race compared with Gasly… And in qualy you can’t compare the two because Gasly had to use a conservative engine mode due to reliability concerns.

  4. Doesn’t seem particularly wise to directly oppose the statements of your current employer, especially if your seat is in serious danger and you’re trying to impress them with your performances. Maybe Hartley knows for sure that Toro Rosso is gonna ditch him, and is trying to pitch his worth to the other teams, if anyone is willing to take notice.

  5. Based on this, and some of his other comments this weekend, we can pretty much deduce that he knows for sure he won’t be in that team next year … and that he now has the opportunity to tell the truth more, so lets see how much he contradicts the Marko / Tost / Gasly / Honda BS sausage machine we’ve seen lately.

    1. Agreed, it does sound like this is the case. Would be good to hear from him about Honda in particular, since the love ballads from RBR and Max is sickeningly syrupy sweet.

  6. As a professional driver I try to avoid comparing myself with another driver because their world is different: different things happened to them, the vehicle they drive can be different, choices they made earlier could easily affect the choices they now face, and because how they react to situations can be different. Incidents can easily affect confidence, especially when you were the one that got it wrong, and one consequence is to drive “more conservatively” afterwards. Driving requires a lot of self criticism, “Could I have done that better?”, “Was I too fast approaching those traffic lights?”, “Yes, letting those two cars go first was a good decision”, “You know better than to do that!”, etc.
    While it is good to hear Brendon sticking up for himself more, the excuses he came up with, like “Gasly’s car was fine”, sound weak and contrived. Who cares about Suzuka (13th)? We want to know about the US GP (promoted to 9th)! The fact the press don’t question your comments should worry you, they wouldn’t accept that nonsense from Lewis or Sebastian. While 9th was Brendon’s best result of the year, it was courtesy of two “gift” disqualifications. Privately, he shouldn’t be happy with this result, and I suspect neither Franz or Helmut will be convinced it is evidence of “improved form” either.
    To me you should have been the one Red Bull Racing chose, but Pierre rightly was chosen instead.
    So what do you need to do? Firstly you need to get into Q2 in Qualifying.

  7. Albon and Hartley would be a much better pair than Kvyat and someone else.

  8. Red Bull won’t like being criticised by Hartley, but they don’t seem to mind when their Little Prince Verstappen shoots his mouth off.

    1. He only whines about the engine like Daddy Horner told him to :P

  9. Hartley’s latest comments show that he knows he won’t be in F1 next season.

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