Kiwi Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley has admitted he's aware of the rumours about his future at Toro Rosso following his spectacular first-lap crash at yesterday's Canadian Grand Prix.

Hartley walked away after crashing heavily on the opening lap after tangling with the Williams of Lance Stroll.

The Le Mans winner qualified well, putting his Toro Rosso Honda on the 12th spot of the grid but was squeezed by the local driver shortly after the start on the outside of a right-hand corner.

In recent weeks there has been talk of Hartley being replaced in his seat at Toro Rosso, with one report saying the team approached promising McLaren driver Lando Norris.


Hartley told fans on social media that he was fine following the crash and said he remained full of confidence.

"Thanks for all the kind messages that have flooded in over social. I'm all ok," Hartley posted on Instagram.

"Yes I have been a bit unlucky recently, yes there has been a bit of noise in the background, but I feel strong, hungrier than ever, and I have full confidence in myself and the team of people around me. I will continue working hard to make my own luck at the next race. Lastly and maybe most importantly, I'm still smiling," he added.

Hartley made heavy contact with the wall on turn four in Montreal and his car nearly flipped over before coming to a rest.

"Yeah I'm fine," a disappointed Hartley said to his team over the radio. "He just ran me out of room."

Despite walking back to the track's medical centre on his own, Hartley went to hospital for precautionary scans.

"I'm definitely fit, healthy, and ready for the next race," Hartley said in a press release.

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


"I think we definitely had the pace to challenge for points today. I had a good start, similar to the drivers around me, but I got left a bit on the outside of Turn 2 which lost me a position. I got a good run on Lance out of Turn 4 on the outside, but he lost the car which put us both into the wall. It's very disappointing as there was room to make the overtake, and I was looking forward to a strong race."

Stroll was disappointed to miss out on completing his home event and explained the incident as he saw it.

"I had a good start and gained a few positions," the Canadian said. "I was up to 13th.
Going into turn five I was side by side with Brendon – the car got loose on me. I corrected it but it was too late and I touched him. There wasn't enough room for both of us so into the wall."

Stroll felt neither driver was really at fault.

"It is racing – things like that happen. First lap, you are close, side by side and that is how it goes some time."

It is a cruel blow to Hartley's Formula 1 hopes. He had been under serious pressure to keep his seat with rumours surfacing this week that his Toro Rosso team approached Formula 2 star Lando Norris to take over the drive.

Hartley's improved pace in Montreal came at a crucial time as he out-qualified teammate Pierre Gasly with a new engine package.