Brendon Hartley says that he was confident he could have produced a strong result at the Italian Grand Prix before his lap 1 crash. The Kiwi failed to make it to the first turn of the race, as he was hit by Marcus Ericsson seconds after the lights went out.
Ericsson hit the right side of Hartley's car which damaged the Toro Rosso driver's suspension. The 28-year-old has struggled this year, his first full season in the sport. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has admitted that Hartley has to improve in order to keep his seat for 2019.
Following the disappointing result, Hartley said: "I was really looking forward to my first Monza GP. 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.”
Toro Rosso is yet to decide on its line-up for next year, however it will bring in at least one new driver to replace Red Bull-bound Pierre Gasly. Hartley has picked up just two top ten finishes this year, at the Azerbaijan and German Grands Prix.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing