“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,” says Hartley.
Hartley was just 18-years-old when he got a shot being a reserve driver for Red Bull in 2008. He admits that he wasn’t ready for the pressures top-tier racing like Formula 1 brings.
“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.”
Overall, Hartley has had mixed success racing in many different series. Working with Mercedes in 2012 and 2013 gave him the chance to return to a Formula 1 organization, then the call came from Toro Rosso to have Hartley fill in for Pierre Gasly in the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin where he finished 13th. That helped cement Toro Rosso’s decision to have Hartley replace Daniil Kvyat.
“The timing has been perfect, and I think you keep on improving,” says Hartley. “I had a tough time, but it was also important for me to learn from.”