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Hartley 'frustrated' as Toro Rosso misses out on Q2

Brendon Hartley (NZL) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
© XPB 

Both Toro Rosso drivers failed to make it through to the second round of qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Neither Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly, nor the team's senior management, could hide their disappointment at the outcome. Hartley missed out on progressing by less than three hundredths of a second, and will start the race from 16th place.

"It was a little frustrating today," the New Zealander admitted. "I think one tenth would have moved us up a few places, and the car definitely had it in it.

"In the last lap there were a couple of small errors and it's frustrating to be so close to the cut-off to Q2."

Hartley had gone out earlier than his counterparts, and the track evolution in the final minutes proved just too great an advantage for those who came after him.

"I think it was the right call, I just didn't quite get everything out of it to get to Q2," he said. "The good thing is the car was definitely quick enough to get to Q2 today.

"I think our strength is our long run pace" he added. "Maybe managing tyres and a good strategy can bring us into the game. We're in that midfield battle, passing will be hard tomorrow and we'll do our best."

"I'm really disappointed," was the verdict of his team mate Gasly, who ended Q1 slowest of anyone. "It's not the first qualifying we wanted and I think there was potential to get into Q2.

"It was very close after the first run, but I just pushed too hard and locked up," he explained. "And that was it. It was the only lap we had and by pushing hard I made a mistake."

The team's technical director James Key joined in the general gloom at the team's performance in qualifying at Albert Park.

"It was disappointing to be out in Q1," he admitted. "We knew it was going to be very tight in the midfield, just a few tenths made a big difference today.

"I expect this will be the case in many of the races to come.

"Q2 was a possibility, but unfortunately we missed an opportunity with Pierre when he missed his second lap.

"We will now plan for tomorrow and do the best we can in the race," he added. "Here in Melbourne anything is possible, and our goal of scoring points this weekend has not changed."

Pierre Gasly (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso signs autographs for the fans.

Honda F1 Technical Director Toyoharu Tanabe was also seeking the positive side, in the manufacturer's first outing with its new works team after splitting from McLaren at the end of 2017.

"The drivers' comments about the car are positive," he pointed out. "And the gap in qualifying to those directly ahead of us is very small.

"In the past, we have seen that anything can happen at this track, so we will now work on being as well prepared as possible for the race, ready to make the most of any opportunity."

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Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park Circuit, qualifying,