Brendon Hartley dismisses F1 rumours: "I have a contract"
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It's Monaco GP o'clock, and this is quite possibly going to be the most important race in Brendon Hartley's career.
As you'll have read, rumours have been circulating about the Kiwi's Formula 1 career and — more to the point — that it's about to come to an abrupt end after a disappointing start to 2017.
Off the back of the chatter, Hartley's finally responded to it in an interview with Motorsport.com.
"I was surprised to hear about that because I have a contract," he said.
"I'm feeling more and more confident in a Formula 1 car. F1 moves quickly, there's a lot of critics, but obviously as a driver you're your own biggest critic. I don't even know what websites [are saying this]. In the end, I know that I'm a team player, I'm working very hard behind the scenes.
"I think people sometimes have short memories in Formula 1. Things move very quick, and from one weekend to the next the whole story can be a completely different one. I'm well aware of that.
"I was really happy with my race in Barcelona; we didn't have the pace to move much further up, but I felt I did what I could, and I'm happy with how I dealt with having a crash. Obviously you don't want it to happen, and I'll make a big effort that it doesn't happen again, but I'm not the only one who'll have a crash - and it won't be my last crash - and that's part of being a racing driver.
“I'll move on and fight this weekend, and hopefully have a good result."
It's noteworthy that Hartley put in an impressive performance overnight across FP1 and FP2 at Monaco. After hovering in the top five across both sessions, he wound up finishing up in 11th and 12th respectively.
That might not sound like the biggest result to crow about, but it is ahead of his Scuderia Toro Rosso teammate Pierre Gasly. It's also worth mentioning how tricky and unique Monaco is — especially when tackled in a wide, low Formula 1 car, flying mere millimetres away from the Armco at numerous points on track.
Rumours or not, this weekend is probably the most important of 2018 for the New Zealander.