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Kiwi Hartley sharpens up for F1 race debut

Brendon Hartley had a hairy moment at the US Grand Prix when his helmet lifted at speed during his first Formula One practice session on Friday.

But the first New Zealand grand prix driver for 33 years was pretty satisfied with his performance.

Although he will make his F1 race debut from the back of the grid after being hit with penalties for power unit changes to his Toro Rosso.

The F1 website said Hartley still had some problems with aerodynamic lift on his helmet but he was unfazed when speaking to reporters afterwards.

“We had some issues with the helmet lifting up and trying to choke me,” he said.

“I guess they designed the car around a certain helmet and I’ve turned up with a different one, so we’re getting on top of that.”

In his first appearance in a single seater since 2012, Hartley set the 14th best time of the morning session at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

He was 17th fastest in the afternoon, with teammate Daniil Kvyat 13th.

“I’m 27, I’m not a young rookie,” he said.

“It was a pretty positive first day. I tried to not over think it, I just tried to go out and see how I felt in the first session.

“I kept it (the car) on track, made good progression through the day, did a lot of practice starts, pit-stop practice which was something quite new to me … and it’s only taking two and a half seconds.”

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