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Hartley: Silly for me to comment on rumours

Brendon Hartley said he expected Toro Rosso to honour his contract as speculation continued to swirl in the paddock regarding the New Zealander’s future in Formula 1 in the wake of a below-par start to his first full season at the pinnacle of the sport.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, Hartley batted away questions after reports that his team had approached McLaren about the possibility of their British reserve Lando Norris replacing Hartley.

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“It’s the second grand prix in a row I’ve been responding to the rumours, but it’s not really interesting for me to comment,” he told reporters.

“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 car,” added the Le Mans 24 Hours winner and world endurance champion.

“Things didn’t really go my way in Monaco in qualifying, but I felt very strong all weekend and I’m going to take the same approach this weekend.”

Hartley has scored just one point in six races for the Red Bull-owned team this season compared to 18 for Frenchman Pierre Gasly in the other car, and has also made some costly mistakes.

He was dropped by Red Bull early in his career, in 2010 when reserve driver for both Toro Rosso and Red Bull, but was brought back into the fold last year after Russian Daniil Kvyat was dropped and Carlos Sainz was loaned to Renault.

“I know I have the ability to be here and doing a good job in Formula 1. I don’t have the points on the board, but I know it’s possible. I think it’s silly for me to comment on rumours, as that’s all they are,” added Hartley.

Big Question: Should Toro Rosso axe Brendon?