Brendon Hartley claims that the upgrades Toro Rosso has brought to Bahrain are working better than expected. The Red Bull junior team stunned the paddock on Saturday when Hartley's teammate Pierre Gasly pulled his Toro Rosso into sixth on the grid.
Gasly started the weekend with the upgrades, while they were only fitted to Hartley's car on Saturday. The Kiwi will start the Bahrain Grand Prix from eleventh on the grid, admitting that he and the team have been pleasantly surprised by the performance of the upgrades.
"It was an awesome job by the whole team,” said Hartley. “Obviously I’ve been on the back foot only getting the update for today so Pierre got to use that all of yesterday. But the fact we have so much performance is really, really encouraging.
"The estimate from Toro Rosso of the performance from the upgrade was quite small and it ended up being a lot larger than they estimated which is also fantastic. It’s normally the other way. There’s also upgrades planned from Honda, more from Toro Rosso, so it’s really encouraging."
Hartley also described a bizarre incident that happened in Q1, stating that his front wing was destroyed after he hit a bird: "I destroyed my front wing with a bird," said Hartley. "I then put three sets of tyres in Q1 which only left me one set of tyres for Q2 which obviously wasn’t helpful.
"But I couldn’t control that. I didn’t see the bird, I doubt he’s still alive but the wing was also destroyed. I had no front downforce. I told the team we needed a lot more front wing and they told me we had a hole in the front wing. And I was two seconds off the pace. That was a wasted run and then we had to spend another set of tyres."