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Hartley happy with 'big progression' on first day


Brendon Hartley says he is happy with his official baptism of fire as a Grand Prix driver and his first day behind the wheel at Toro Rosso.

The Kiwi, who took a lucky seat in Toro Rosso's game of musical chairs, acquitted himself well on Friday, putting mileage under his belt with a consistent approach and keeping himself out of trouble.

"A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy," said the Porsche factory driver.

"I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day."

Hartley's task was somewhat facilitated by the fact that he was running on familiar ground, having raced at COTA with Porsche just a month ago.

But it was still on all-new environment for the 27-year-old rookie, with multiple challenges to tackle.

"The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener!

"Another challenge are the tyres, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

Hartley clocked in P17 at the end of FP2, 1.1s off team mate Dany Kvyat but also 1.1s up on Sean Gelael who had run with the STR12 in Friday morning's free practice session.

"All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow."

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