Brendon Hartley 'definitely had the pace' after premature Canadian Grand Prix exit

Kiwi Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley was inconsolable after his premature exit at this morning's Canadian Grand Prix, staring at being axed by Italian outfit Toro Rosso.

Already under pressure for his spot with Toro Rosso, taking just one point from his seven races going into this morning's Grand Prix in Montreal, Hartley bombed out on the first lap, colliding with Mercedes' Lance Stroll.

It's the second Grand Prix in a row that Hartley's race has been cut short by another driver's crash, having suffered a similar accident at last month's Monaco Grand Prix, rear ended by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

Speaking to media after his return from hospital, Hartley said that it was an opportunity lost for himself and Toro Rosso, after qualifying 12th on the grid.

"I'm really disappointed for Toro Rosso and Honda, because we've been quite strong all weekend with a good update from the power unit," he said.

"I think we definitely had the pace to challenge for points today.

"It's a frustrating way to end the Canadian Grand Prix as I've been really happy with my performance all weekend."

Hartley's fears over losing his position as a Toro Rosso driver could be slightly allayed however, after team principal Franz Tost released a statement following the crash.

"This was not our race weekend ... it's a shame Brendon retired on the first lap of the race after he was pushed into the wall by Stroll."

"I think we can get more out of our package than we were able to show today, and I'm confident that we can have a better performance in the upcoming race weekend in France."

Hartley will be hoping to keep his spot going into the French Grand Prix later this month in Le Castellet.

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