Kiwi Formula One driver Brendon Hartley hasn’t lasted long in his latest outing at the Canadian Grand Prix.
The F1 rookie desperately needs results to stave off the lingering threat of losing his drive for the Toro Rosso team, but crashed out in the opening lap of 70 at Montreal.
Starting 12th on the grid after qualifying, Hartley seemed to be squeezed off the track by Canadian driver Lance Stroll on the fifth turn. Both cars ended up in the gravel, with both drivers exiting their cars, seemingly unscathed.
Stroll seemed to suffer oversteer problems that took him into Hartley, but commentators were also critical of the Kiwi’s track position on the outside of the track so early in the race.
“I’m fine,” Hartley told his team afterwards. “He just ran me out of track.”
Stroll told his team he had punctured.
Stewards were investigating the incident to determine blame and any subsequent penalties.
Hartley, who the Le Mans 24-hour race last year, has only scored one point during his maiden season at this level and rumours abound that his team is trying to replace him for the rest of the season.
This result won’t help that.