Brazilian Grand Prix – Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley left Interlagos without a point, but was more angry about Pierre Gasly’s refusal to obey team orders in the closing stages of the race.
The two Toro Rosso drivers approached the race from two different angles. Pierre Gasly, having made it into Q3, started from P10 on the SuperSoft tyre, while Hartley started on a fresh set of Medium tyres, having been knocked out in Q1.
While Gasly was able to hover around the lower fringes of the points positions for most of the race, he eventually fell down to P11 behind Force India’s Sergio Perez. Pitting on Lap 26 for fresh Mediums, his pace fell off over the second half of the race, allowing Brendon Hartley to come back at him. The Kiwi ran a very long first stint on his Mediums, pitting on Lap 50 to swap over to SuperSofts and a charge to the flag. This charge, shadowed closely by Renault’s Carlos Sainz, ended when Hartley came up right behind Gasly.
Rather than attack his teammate, Hartley radioed in to request a swap of positions, and to do so quickly, due to the proximity of Sainz. Toro Rosso agreed, and requested Gasly to move aside at Turn 4 – an instruction that was disobeyed for several laps. With Hartley waiting patiently, he lost his cool with three laps to go, shouting “What the fuck is going on? He’s holding me up so much.”
When Gasly was told to let Hartley by again, he replied to say that Hartley should overtake if he is quicker than him.
As a result of the delay in Hartley attacking Gasly for position, it prevented the Kiwi from potentially chasing after Sergio Perez’s P10 points place, however unlikely that may have been considering the Force India was over forty seconds up the road. Hartley eventually wound up finishing in P11, with Sainz also getting past Gasly to demote the French driver to P13. Hartley made a point of apologising to his race engineer on the cooldown lap, saying he was sorry for swearing at him.
“That was a really good race for me, it’s annoying you don’t get to score points as a reward, but there weren’t any retirements at the front to capitalise on.” said Hartley afterwards. “I started on the harder compound so it was a bit tricky for me during the first few laps, but still I had a strong start and made some good overtakes. To make our race work, I knew I would have to keep the tyres alive as long as possible on the first stint, I had great feedback from the pit wall and the strategy worked well. I felt this was one of the best performances of my F1 career but without the reward of points. The team will work hard over the next weeks to understand why we had such good race pace in Mexico, but struggled two weeks later here in Brazil.””