Brendon Hartley chasing a point in Mexico
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Kiwi Formula 1 star Brendon Hartley has a target of scoring a championship point at this weekend's Mexican Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old made an impressive debut with Toro Rosso on Monday in Austin, finishing a respectable 13th after starting from the rear of the grid.
Having been retained for the second straight week, Hartley has now turned his attention to improving his performance even further and bagging a top 10 finish that would earn championship points.
"I think winning the race is optimistic," Hartley told Radio Sport's Martin Devlin. "People that follow Formula 1 will understand that not every car is capable of winning. As a driver, that is not what you want to be saying but that is the reality.
"A realistic goal or target would be to score a point. That would be huge. If I could score a point in Mexico, that would call for a big celebration. That has to be the goal. A difficult goal, believe me.
"Obviously long term, that is the dream - to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix - but for the moment, one step at a time.
"I would love to score a point."
Stories have surfaced out of Europe this morning quoting Toro Rosso boss Helmut Marko and claiming that Hartley has been handed a drive for each of the remaining three races this year. It also said that Russian driver Daniil Kvyat, who has spent the majority of the year with the team, has been told he is free to pursue a drive elsewhere.
But the Le Mans 24 Hour winner said he's had no confirmation of any of that from the team.
"At the moment I don't know exactly what the future holds," he said. "All I know is I am making my second Grand Prix in Mexico, which I am very excited and happy about.
"I am keeping it pretty simple. Even in Austin I didn't ask too many questions and I just focused on doing my job."
That approach seemed to work for the Kiwi in the United States. He handled the extra attention and scrutiny well and passed the test with flying colours.
"It has been quite a crazy few weeks for me - pretty surreal. The Formula 1 debut at Austin came somewhat out of the blue not only for me but for everyone else. No one saw it coming.
"It has been amazing. I went into Austin with a plan with how I wanted to handle it mentally and be relaxed and enjoy it and just take it as it comes. I am happy with how that played out. There are always things that I could have done better but that was the situation I was in - I was somewhat thrown in the deep end but on the other hand I felt ready for it.
"Now I have got an incredible opportunity to take my second Grand Prix and hopefully build on that first weekend and take a lot of those experiences that I gained from the first one and put them into practice.
"I have still got a big task ahead and expectation gets a little bit higher but I want to tackle this weekend the same. I want to enjoy it, I want to be relaxed and take it as it comes.
"I do have a few more goals this weekend because I think things have changed somewhat in the space of a week."
Hartley will be back behind the wheel on Saturday morning with the first practice session.
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