It was a disappointing Chinese F1 Grand Prix for Brendon Hartley at the weekend. Having qualified 15th in Q2 on Saturday, the Kiwi driver clashed with team mate Pierre Gasly on lap 30 during the race when the latter attempted to pass Harltey on the inside of the hairpin.
“It was a tough day for us, at the beginning of the race I had no grip on the Ultrasofts so that compromised our strategy,” commented Hartley. “Starting near the back of the grid we tried alternating strategies to give us a better chance but unfortunately that didn’t work.
“I think the accident with Pierre was down to a miscommunication. The team asked us to swap positions because we were on completely different strategies, so I was going to let him by on the exit of Turn 14 like I did at the start of the race.
“The second time we had to change positions I planned to do the same but I got hit from behind at the apex. Then towards the end of the race I had to retire because the team saw an issue with the gearbox. In the end it was a long afternoon.”
“It was a difficult weekend for us overall because we never found the pace since Saturday morning,” said Gasly. “We knew the race would be difficult after the performance we had in qualifying and the car was quite tricky.
“Today (Sunday) things didn’t really work out for us, so we have plenty to analyse between the two weekends and try to understand why we were fast in Bahrain and why we struggled in Shanghai.
“I apologise to Brendon for the contact we had, the team told me that they were going to switch our positions so I went on the inside of the back straight thinking he would give me space.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think he saw me and once I was on the inside there was nothing I could do. We lost a lot of time after that, I broke my front wing and the steering bent at the end of the race, so it was really difficult to drive and we couldn’t do much from there. We have some work to do to get ready for Baku, it’s a track I know and like so I’m looking forward to getting there.”