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Hartley keen to silence Toro Rosso-Honda doubters

Written by  Mar 05, 2018

Brendon Hartley is hoping Toro Rosso and Honda can maintain their strong early signs from the first Formula 1 test and silence the doubters in 2018.

Last week, the junior Red Bull team shocked many by completing 324 laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the most of any team and a barometer often more important than lap times in testing.

It was a stark contrast to the problems Honda faced with McLaren pre-season in the last three years, part of which was why many are still sceptical of whether their new partnership will be a success.

The Kiwi, however, is upbeat: “I’m really optimistic and positive about this new relationship with Toro Rosso and Honda,” he told Crash.net. “Everyone’s working really hard and I see that we’re going to improve during the season.

“I hope that we can be a bit of a surprise as I think a lot of people wrote us off with the new partnership with Honda."

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Also interesting was how high the Honda-powered STR13 featured in the speed trap with Hartley's teammate Pierre Gasly matching Ferrari and Mercedes albeit with all engines likely running in conservative modes.

As for the season ahead, the WEC world champion, who earned his second shot at F1 with the Red Bull program last October, is keeping his own expectations in check.

“I know myself, my goals of how I want to perform but it’s hard to put a number on that," he said. “I’m the final piece of the puzzle inside the car, myself and Pierre [Gasly], but it’ a big team effort.

“I have some personal goals and targets that I want to fulfil and I think only I’ll know if I’ve achieved them.”

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