Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley admits he “crumbled” when he had his first shot at Formula 1 with Red Bull.
Hartley, who made his grand prix debut this year and will race for Toro Rosso full-time next season, was dropped by Red Bull during 2010 having been its reserve driver (pictured above testing for Red Bull in 2008).
Speaking in an interview in the latest episode of Motorsport.tv programme The Flying Lap, Hartley accepts he was not experienced enough for that first opportunity.
“I wasn’t ready at that point,” says Hartley.
“I have big respect for the likes of Max [Verstappen], who has come in at the age that I was.
“I had a real opportunity to be there, but when it came down to it I didn’t have all the experience that I needed and maybe support and I crumbled when I shouldn’t have.”
Hartley believes he is a “more rounded” driver today for the experience of missing out in 2010.
“I learned a lot from that and I feel like I’m a lot more rounded driver today than I ever could have been at 18,” says Hartley, who has enjoyed a successful sportscar career with Porsche that included a Le Mans 24 Hours win and two World Endurance Championship titles.
“The timing has been perfect and I think you keep on improving.
“I had a tough time, but it was also important for me to learn from.”