Brendon Hartley says his frustration is mounting at the continued grid penalties he’s been hit with since moving to Formula 1 for engine changes but sees it as part of his preparation for a brighter 2018 campaign.

The Toro Rosso driver has picked up a 10-place grid drop for a new MGU-H unit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his car’s ninth of the season with only a maximum of four permitted by the rules, meaning in all four of his F1 races this year he’s had a grid penalty since joining the team.

With a back row start effectively guaranteed again Hartley vented his annoyance which was coupled with a difficult day finding a solid set-up with his STR12 at the Yas Marina circuit but was content to grimace ahead of a positive outlook for next season.

“It is a little bit frustrating,” Hartley said. “I understand why the rules are there but especially in Mexico when I could have qualified pretty high up and had a real chance at scoring points, which was probably the most frustrating one.

“Now that it is announced that I am here for next year these four races are preparation for next year. Obviously, we are in the fight for the constructors position for Toro Rosso so that is the goal on Sunday but it is going to be a bit harder from the back but we will be doing everything we can to score a point or two.”

Hartley endured one hairy moment during FP2 in preparation for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when he spun off under braking for turn one which he’s keen to iron out with his race engineers overnight.

“I lost the rear on entry which was a bit of a surprise,” he said. “I was struggling a bit with the balance today and I know that we are looking into it and working on it. We are pushing these cars to the limit and they are tough to drive but I lost it on the entry to turn one.”

Hartley is holding on to his outside chance of maiden F1 points to help defend Toro Rosso's sixth place in the World Constructors' championship against Renault and Haas. Toro Rosso holds sixth place over Renault by four points with Haas six points back in eighth.

 

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