Brendon Hartley says the “tough” four-race stint with Toro Rosso at the end of the 2017 season was the “perfect introduction” to Formula 1 ahead of a full campaign next year.

LMP1 world champion and Le Mans winner Hartley was a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly for the United States Grand Prix in October as Toro Rosso battled a driver crisis, but did enough to earn himself a place for the three final races in place of the dropped Daniil Kvyat.

Toro Rosso confirmed last month Hartley would race through 2018 alongside Gasly, and while the New Zealander encountered a number of challenges in the four-race stint, he feels it was the perfect preparation for next year.

“The learning process was steep and very important. It was tough, I’m not going to lie, especially with eight weekends on the trot,” Hartley said at the FIA Prize Giving gala on Friday in Paris.

“That was a good experience for me, to learn what that takes out of you and what areas you need to improve. That was the perfect introduction into Formula 1 in terms of preparing a season, having some real racing experience to start next year.

“I’m looking forward to having a bit of a break, recharging the batteries, and coming back strong next year. I’m hearing a lot of positive things out of Toro Rosso and out of Honda.

“I can’t wait to work alongside them next year, and hopefully prove my worth in Formula 1.”