Hartley knows the heat is on him in F1

A friend and mentor of Brendon Hartley says the New Zealand driver is aware of the pressure on him to perform in Formula One.

Brendon Hartley. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hartley failed to finish this morning‘s Monaco Grand Prix after being hit by behind.

In his first full season in F1 Hartley has finished 15th, 17th, 20th, 10th, 12th and 19th in the 6 races, for just one championship point for Toro Rosso.

Former Australian F1 driver Mark Webber says Hartley knows the heat is on him to keep his seat.

“He wants to try and keep that seat for as long as he can and prove that he is capable of doing the job in F1 and at the moment it has been tricky for him to prove himself and get that momentum going.”

“As a driver you‘ve got to find the gaps, you‘ve got to start glueing things together and start getting the team round you and you‘ve got to start breeding results however way you can and that‘s what people will be looking at and so he knows the microscope is on him, yeh.”

Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley Photo: p

Daniel Ricciardo brought back memories of Formula One great Michael Schumacher in his prime as the Australian nursed a wounded Red Bull to Monaco Grand Prix victory in the team‘s 250th race.

Winning from pole position for the first time in his career, Ricciardo drove for nearly two thirds of the race — some 50 laps — with a car down on power due to problems that emerged on lap 28.

Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel, last year‘s race winner, finished second — easing off towards the finish to save the tyres — to cut Lewis Hamilton‘s overall lead to 14 points after six of 21 rounds.

Hamilton, the reigning world champion, was third for Mercedes.

Placed just outside the top 10 late in the race, New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley did not finish after copping a shunt from behind from Sauber‘s Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo celebrates. Photo: Photosport

Ricciardo‘s only previous pole had been in Monaco two years ago, when he lost out to Hamilton on strategy and finished runner-up. Schumacher won in Belgium in 1995 with a famously defensive drive on dry tyres in the wet.

“I had half the power it seemed and I felt like it was going to come to a stop,” said Ricciardo, who notched his second win of the season and seventh of his career.

“For a few seconds I just wanted to close my eyes and start crying.”

Ricciardo had made a clean start and, controlling the race, looked as much of a nailed-on certainty for victory as ever exists on Monaco‘s treacherous metal-fenced streets.

And then he reported a loss of power.

“OK mate, we can see what‘s going on,” his race engineer replied after a pause. “You just need to keep it smooth, keep focused.”

“Will it get better?” enquired the Australian. “Negative,” came the reply.

From then on, Ricciardo — with Vettel looming in his rearview mirrors — was a model of consistency on a track where overtaking is a challenge for even the greatest of talents. For lap after lap, he kept the gap.

“Absolutely amazing, I don‘t know how you did that, Daniel,” said engineer Simon Rennie.

“We had problems. We had a lot to deal with during the race. I felt a loss of power and I thought the race was done. I got home just using six gears,” Ricciardo told reporters later. “Thanks to the team. We got it back. I‘m stoked.

“From two years ago I feel we got some redemption now, we can put 2016 behind us,” he added.

Brendon Hartley hit by Charles LeClerc at 2018 Monaco Grand Prix. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Vettel said it had been a tricky race and “Daniel had the answer at all times.”

A largely processional race — “boring” according to Hamilton, who said he would “have been asleep on the couch” if watching at home — saw a virtual safety car needed in the closing laps.

That was triggered by Leclerc, the first local F1 driver in 24 years to compete on his home streets, having piled into the back of Hartley‘s Toro Rosso at the tunnel exit.

“It was a tough race starting from 15th,” Hartley said.

“I had a pretty good start, but I damaged my front wing on the first lap at five turn five, which was annoying. It was an uphill battle from there, the tyres quickly faded with lack of front downforce, but we held on and made a big effort to make the ultrasofts last until the end.

“Charles and I spoke afterwards and he said he lost the brakes, it‘s pretty frustrating, but that‘s Monaco.

“We were strong all weekend apart from Q1, where we didn‘t get it all together. I was happy with how I was driving today but ultimately it wasn‘t meant to be.”

Ricciardo‘s Dutch team mate Max Verstappen, who started last after crashing in Saturday‘s final practice, stayed out of trouble and stood out for the right reasons with impressive overtakes to finish ninth.

Verstappen also set a race lap record with a one minute 14.260 second effort on lap 60, improving on Mexican Sergio Perez‘s 2017 best of 1:14.820.

– Reuters, RNZ