Mixed feelings for Hartley after first point
Brendon Hartley has expressed mixed feelings after scoring his first Formula 1 World Championship point with a 10th position finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The result was in fact a remarkable turnaround after Hartley caused a frightening near-miss with his Scuderia Toro Rosso team-mate Pierre Gasly on his way to qualifying 19th.
The New Zealander had been moving slowly after damaging a tyre when he hit a wall, and technically only started the race at stewards’ discretion having not set a lap time within the 107 percent requirement in Q1.
Hartley pitted under the Lap 1 Safety Car to change from soft compound tyres to ultrasofts and circulated around the rear of the field, gaining positions largely through attrition in front of him.
The late-race Safety Car helped Car #28 back onto the lead lap but Hartley still sat outside the points until then-leader Valtteri Bottas picked up a puncture and Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen came together.
“That was an interesting race,” said Hartley.
“From my point of view, I kept it clean but we didn’t really have the pace today to challenge in the midfield. In the areas we needed to overtake we just couldn’t get close enough.
“There was a lot of drama around me, but I managed to keep my nose clean and take home my first World Championship point in F1, which is great.
“It was important for me to get to the end of the race today, especially after yesterday.
“I think at times during the race the pace was OK, but on the ultrasoft tyre at the end I didn’t feel like I could challenge the cars in front.
“I would have loved to attack a bit more but let’s be happy with a point on the board. I’ll take this momentum into the next race.”
Hartley’s top 10 in Baku elevates the 28-year-old from 20th to 18th in the championship.