Hartley confident despite Norris reports

McLaren

McLaren has reportedly warned Toro Rosso to back off after the Red Bull junior team made a run at top prospect and Formula 2 championship leader Lando Norris.

"They obviously believe, as we do, that they are very talented".

Toro Rosso wanted to take Norris on loan, but it was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that McLaren had turned down the offer.

Brendon Hartley expects Toro Rosso to honour his contract despite reports his auto is already being offered to other drivers.

"It's the second grand prix in a row I've been responding to rumours", he told reporters.

"Things didn't really go my way in Monaco qualifying", he admitted, "but I felt pretty strong all weekend".

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"I know what my contract says, I'm very confident in the work I've been doing for Toro Rosso behind the scenes to develop the vehicle", added the Le Mans 24 Hours victor and world endurance champion.

"Like I said, I know what my contract says and I know the work that I've been doing behind the scenes". But I don't think it makes a lot of sense to comment on rumors. "There always seem to be rumours in Formula One. I know I have the ability to be here and do a good job in Formula 1".

With Toro Rosso clearly looking to replace Brendon Hartley and Lando Norris no longer being an option for them, will Hartley end up improving enough so that he can drive for the team throughout the remainder of the 2018 season and possibly beyond that, or will the team find another driver with whom to replace him? "I think it's silly for me to comment on rumours, as that's all they are".

"I'm flattered by the stories but I'm focused on F2 and committed to McLaren", the 18-year-old said. "It doesn't even make sense to have the conversation".

It's been a hard season for Hartley, with the New Zealander outperformed by team mate Pierre Gasly.

Toro Rosso has scored points in only three of the six races so far, with Gasly's surprise fourth-place finish in Bahrain contributing more than half the team's current tally.

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