Brendon Hartley insists he feels in a “good place mentally” despite continued rumours surrounding his Formula 1 future at Toro Rosso. 

Hartley’s future at Toro Rosso has been the subject of speculation in recent months with the Kiwi struggling to match the results of teammate Pierre Gasly, with reports emerging ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix that the Faenza squad had approached McLaren youngster Lando Norris about replacing Hartley for the remainder of the season. 

McLaren blocked the move and rumours have since subsided somewhat, with Hartley turning in a string of stronger performances in recent races. Hartley’s hopes of remaining at Toro Rosso beyond this season might have been boosted, following Daniel Ricciardo’s shock decision to leave sister team Red Bull for Renault next year. 

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“I feel in a good place mentally, even after the rumours and a bit of pressure early on, makes me feel a lot stronger coming out the side of that,” Hartley said. “I see things a lot clearer. A lot learned.

“Disappointed not to get points on the board on the weekend with what I mentioned before, think I did strong performance all weekend but sometimes that’s racing.

“Some positives. Some ups and also some downs. I feel like the second half of the first half of the season felt I was strong, luck wasn’t always on my side.”

With just two appearances in the points so far in 2018, Hartley admits he is frustrated not to have scored more top 10 finishes after some stronger performances, including at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he had looked on course for points until a strategy error from his team. 

“There were some tough times in the beginning where I made a couple of mistakes, where I had opportunities to capitalise, but I feel in the last four or five races feel like I’ve been on top of things and don’t have the points to show from it,” he explained. 

“Again [in Hungary] I think I had a strong performance but the way the race worked out I wasn’t able to finish in the points and I didn’t really feel like I put a foot wrong which has been a bit the theme in the last five or six races.”

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