Brendon Hartley defends driving record as rumours on F1 future continue
Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley has defended his Formula 1 record, amid ongoing doubts regarding his future in the championship.
Hartley’s place at Toro Rosso has been under scrutiny through most of 2018; Daniil Kvyat has already been re-signed for 2019, while ex-Red Bull junior and Formula 2 title contender Alexander Albon has been heavily linked to a seat.
Hartley has only scored four points across his 23-race stint in Formula 1, compared to 29 amassed by team-mate Pierre Gasly, but has stressed that he has made gains through his first full campaign.
"I definitely have improved," said Hartley. "There was a lot to learn being a rookie, a somewhat old rookie at 28 years old but still a rookie in Formula 1.
"Coming from LMP1, there were a lot of similarities, which I’ve touched on many times before, but then also a lot of new things to learn, tyres was the big one that springs to mind.
"Maybe the environment in Formula 1, the style of racing. I guess some of the external pressures that are put on you as a driver.
"I feel through the season I’ve maybe hardened my approach, I’ve got stronger, and I’ve learned from mistakes, figured out with the engineers what’s going to get the best out of the weekend for me in terms of the car, the setup.
"I think I’ve brought a lot of experience to the team. I think the last races, the second half of the season I’ve definitely been stronger. In qualifying, me and Pierre have been quite aligned, sometimes he’s been just ahead, sometimes I’ve been just ahead.
"The races haven’t always worked out. I don’t think the points on the board is a true reflection. I think sometimes people do forget it is also a team sport, it’s not just an individual, it’s very much a team sport. I’ve been a team player, and now the focus is really on making sure that we’re ahead of Sauber before the end of the season.
"That’s the main focus for Toro Rosso right now."