Brendon Hartley believes he keeps finding himself “in the wrong place at the wrong time” after being involved in incidents in both races since the summer break.
After a strong qualifying performance at Spa, Hartley was caught out by the first corner collisions that cost him a number of positions and dropped him out of points contention. Then in Monza, where the Toro Rosso driver was sandwiched between Stoffel Vandoorne and Marcus Ericsson, light contact with the Sauber caused a puncture that broke his suspension and forced instant retirement.
“It was annoying,” Hartley said. “It was a fantastic race to watch on TV, but I would have much preferred to be out there. I felt strong all weekend, I felt strong for the last five weeks, but I seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Spa at the exit of Turn 1 I was in the wrong place so I lost a lot of positions, and [in Monza] was even more so.
“I think it’s fair to say the last two races we didn’t expect to be our strongest, but qualifying 12th in Spa, and then in Monza it was extremely tight, it was 0.1s between myself and Pierre, but we showed that we could really fight, even at Monza and Spa [which] we thought would be difficult tracks.
“So I think we have to be confident for Singapore and move on from this race very quickly. From a team’s point of view it was a tough race; also for Pierre – he went backwards, and I’m sure the focus now is straight away onto Singapore. It’s a very different track and a different package.”
Toro Rosso picked up a fourth place in Singapore last season, and Hartley says the team heads to the Marina Bay Circuit with high expectations.
“Definitely,” he said. “We were still aiming for points [in Monza], but we knew Spa and Monza would be difficult, and I think in a way we had better pace than we expected, although in the race Pierre went backwards. But in Spa we showed we had the pace to fight in the points.
“Singapore, in theory, should be a good track for us. Honda’s made improvements, I think we’re understanding our car more and more, and looking forward to experiencing the track for the first time.”