Hartley 'has to stand up for himself' to survive in F1

Brendon Hartley (NZL) Scuderia Toro Rosso.
ยฉ XPB 

Brendon Hartley has been explaining why he's had to drop the nice, quiet guy image in order to stand a chance of keeping his seat in Formula 1.

The Toro Rosso driver is considered a long shot to stay with the team in 2019, with Formula 2 driver Alexander Albon looking front-runner to take over next season.

But Hartley insists that his current contract assures him of a place on the grid with the team next year. He says that he's done enough to compare favourably to current team mate Pierre Gasly and prove himself worthy of another campaign.

"I know that I've done a really good job these last races and I'm feeling in a really good place," he told Autosport magazine this week.

"I'm here now, I feel very comfortable in the environment and I'm doing a good job," he said. "But it hasn't always fallen my way.

"There have been a few races where the first lap didn't go well," he explained. "Or there was contact on the first lap and then it goes to the car in front.

"There were races like Austria where I was on for points and I really had a good pace to do points, but the suspension failed," he continued.

The Kiwi finished in the points in America for only the third time this season, and ran into hot water by contradicting official team press releases about the extent of damage to Gasly's car in Austin.

Brendon Hartley (NZL) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13.

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost warned before the Mexico Grand Prix that Hartley would have to significantly up his game if he wanted to stay with them next season. However he subsequently ended up out of the points last weekend, and was even slower than the two troubled Williams cars.

Since then the driver has been once more been forced to address renewed speculation that he's about to be kicked to the kerb by the team.

"I have to keep answering questions about my immediate future," the 28-year-old complained. "I guess I've realised I also have to defend myself a little bit.

"It just felt like I had to stand up for myself sometimes and fight for my cause, which I am doing," he added. "I've concentrated on my own performance despite everything going on.

"I know in myself I'm in a really good place, and I know the job that I'm doing."

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