Brendon Hartley hopes he will get a change in his Formula 1 strategy fortune in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix after qualifying a career-best sixth on the grid at Suzuka.

Hartley managed to lead Toro Rosso’s charge at the home race of engine supplier Honda, putting its updated Spec 3 power unit to good use en route to the third row of the grid.

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Hartley managed to outqualify teammate Pierre Gasly in seventh for the first time since Canada, and the New Zealander hopes it will set the tone for a better strategy come race day.

“The start’s going to be important, the first lap. I’ve had a few shocking ones this year, not always been in my control, so got to nail that,” Hartley said.

“It’s a tricky track to pass on, so if we get the strategy right, I see no reason why we can’t finish both cars in the top 10.

“Hopefully they’re nice to me and give me a slightly favourable strategy over the other cars, unlike some other races.”

Hartley has been asked to cede position to Gasly on a number of occasions this year, most recently in Singapore, but he hoped that qualifying ahead would give him priority at Suzuka.

“I would hope so, because it didn’t work out so well for me in all the other races. He was just slightly ahead, so it worked out better for him,” Hartley said.

“Let’s see tomorrow, but it also depends on the first lap and the first corner.

“It’s quite normal the car in front should have a better chance on the strategy, especially if we’re not splitting it. Starting both cars in the top 10, it would make sense to anyway do the best strategy with both cars.

“Quite often we’ve been just outside of the top 10 or on the cusp, and we tend to split them and take a risk. Tomorrow the goal will be to finish with both cars in the top 10.”

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