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Brendon Hartley picks No. 28 as permanent F1 number

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Brendon Hartley will race with No. 28 in Formula 1 from this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix onwards as his bid for a full-season drive with Toro Rosso in 2018 gathers steam.

Porsche LMP1 driver Hartley joined Toro Rosso to make his F1 debut last weekend in Austin, Texas after the team was forced to find a replacement for Pierre Gasly, who was tied up with Super Formula duties in Japan.

Hartley put in a solid display en route to 13th in his first single-seater race since 2012, earning himself a recall for Mexico, with Gasly returning in place of Daniil Kvyat, who will not return to the team.

Hartley raced with Toro Rosso’s assigned reserve number, No. 39, on debut in Austin, but will now switch to No. 28 for Mexico as his new permanent car number. No. 28 was last used in F1 by British racer Will Stevens, who raced full-time with Manor through 2015.

“I’m so excited to head to Mexico for my second Formula 1 Grand Prix. It was a steep learning curve in Austin last week, so I’m looking forward to putting some of the lessons learned into practice this weekend here in Mexico,” Hartley said in Toro Rosso’s race preview.

“It’s a tricky venue for the engineers, as the high altitude plays havoc on downforce and cooling, but from a driving point of view it’s a great track and one I really enjoy.”

Hartley has tasted success at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City before, having won the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race in both 2016 and 2017 with Porsche.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko confirmed in an interview earlier this week that Hartley would be locked in for the remainder of the season, with the New Zealander appearing to be closing in on a full-season seat in 2018.

Hartley had been set to move into the Verizon IndyCar Series with Chip Ganassi Racing next year, only for the team to announce on Wednesday it had signed 2016 Rookie of the Year Ed Jones from Dale Coyne Racing to partner Scott Dixon.

Eriksson snatches Macau Formula 3 pole from Norris

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Joel Eriksson snatched pole position for Saturday’s qualifying race ahead of the Macau Grand Prix after a thrilling fight with McLaren youngster Lando Norris and Ferrari junior Callum Ilott.

Norris headed into the second stage of qualifying on provisional pole after lapping almost a second faster than any other driver in Thursday’s first opening session, and remained in contention early in Q2.

Norris was the first driver to dip into the 2:10s with a time of 2:10.744, only for Eriksson to go 0.024 seconds faster minutes later and snatch pole away.

Despite a later effort to try and reclaim pole, Norris was unable to improve his time, and opted to remain in the pits for the final five minutes of the session after using up his allocated tires.

Ilott was the final driver to put in a serious bid for pole position, falling 0.09 seconds short with his final qualifying lap to sit third on the grid for the qualifying race.

Maximilian Gunther claimed fourth place for Prema Powerteam ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Dan Ticktum, with Mick Schumacher taking P7.

Yuhi Sekiguchi wound up eighth despite a late crash that brought out a red flag, while Sergio Sette Camara and Guanyu Zhou completed the top 10 positions in qualifying.

Saturday’s qualifying race will help form the grid for Sunday’s main event, the 64th Macau Grand Prix.