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Hartley thrilled by best F1 qualifying as Honda shine at Suzuka

Written by  Oct 06, 2018

Brendon Hartley was clearly thrilled to have put one over his critics after a great performance to P6 on the grid for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The Kiwi, who is expected to be dropped for 2019, scored easily the best qualifying result of his year-long career beating Toro Rosso teammate Pierre Gasly by 0.07s in the tricky Q3 conditions.

"I'm stoked with that," he told Sky Sports. "I wouldn't normally get like that but just the buildup of all the crap over the last months, and I know all year I've gotten better and better. Thing haven't always gone my way.

"Some things I couldn't always discuss in the media - first lap incidents, obviously some things I could have done better, but today, a new PU, tricky conditions, a driver's track, first time here in Suzuka, I'm really really happy to put it on P6, yeah."

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As former partner McLaren finished bottom of the timesheets, to have two cars in the top 10 was also a ringing endorsement of Honda's progress, particularly the Spec 3 which has been introduced as something of a 'Suzuka Special' for their home race.

"I don't know if it's half a second but we're definitely quicker," acknowledged Hartley, with that figure some of the estimates made of the gain in performance.

"We haven't been challenging for Q3 apart from wet conditions in Budapest.

"No doubt it's faster, you don't always feel that in the race car, different tracks different aero levels, but you see it on the lap times."

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