Hartley encouraged by practice progress
21 October 2017 – Toro Rosso debutant Brendon Hartley believes he made substantial progress over the course of Friday's practice sessions in the United States, as he got to grips with the STR12.
Porsche sportscar racer Hartley has been drafted in by Toro Rosso in place of Pierre Gasly, who opted to compete in the Super Formula finale, which has since been cancelled due to a typhoon.
Hartley, having not piloted a single-seater car in five years, completed 69 laps during the three-hour practice period, winding up 17th quickest, his best lap 1.2s shy of team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
"It was a steep learning curve," said Hartley, who claimed victory in last month's WEC round at the Circuit of the Americas.
"It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I'm quite happy.
"I didn't really know what to expect because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.
"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 tyres there.
"The biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tyre pace, and I'll get another crack at it before qualifying.
"All in all, I'd say it's all coming together."
Hartley has already picked up a 25-place grid penalty due to power unit changes.