Brendon Hartley has stressed he will not lose confidence despite seeing his difficult start to the 2018 Formula 1 season continue with one of the biggest crashes of his racing career during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon.

Hartley spun into the barrier at Turn 9 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after clipping the grass on entry to the corner, causing severe damage to the rear-end of his Toro Rosso-Honda STR13 that prevented him from taking part in qualifying.

"It happened very quickly," Hartley explained. "Often I’m using this kerb on entry to Turn 9, as many others do. This lap I used two or three centimetres too much of it, and clipped the grass. I think there’s a bit of a hole there.



"It spun me around very quickly on the entry of the fastest corner of the race track. After that, I was a passenger."

Asked when he last suffered an impact as big as his practice shunt, Hartley said: "I honestly don’t remember - and that’s not because I’ve just had an impact!

"I had a crash in the first WEC round in 2016, but it wasn’t such a big impact in the end. It’s potentially the biggest one I’ve had to be honest. I don’t know the exact number [of Gs], but it’s probably one of the biggest crashes I’ve had."

While Hartley escaped the crash only reporting a bit of soreness, the incident was the latest setback for the New Zealander at the start of his first full F1 season following struggles in Bahrain and run-ins with teammate Pierre Gasly in both China and Azerbaijan.

"It’s disappointing. The last two qualifyings, I haven’t completed a lap," Hartley said.

"China was pretty good actually, I got through to Q2 in quite an uncompetitive car. I was actually pretty happy with the car this morning. Like I said, a very small mistake had very big consequences today, and ruined our qualifying as well. It was a big mistake in the end, but you know what I mean.

"Some parts of this year I’ve been happy with how it’s gone. In Bahrain I was disappointed to not capitalise when we had a really strong car, and today again the car was really competitive and I didn’t get a chance to qualify.

"It’s not over. The weekend’s not over. I won’t lose confidence. I scored my first point in Baku, and I’ll still aim to turn that into many more."


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