The secret life of... Brendon Hartley

Formula One World

You may have seen his wedding photos on social media recently, but Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley generally steers clear of the public eye - at least by F1 driver standards. We decided to learn a little more about the New Zealander...

Q: Apart from driving a Formula 1 car, what is your favourite buzz? Brendon Hartley: Riding my mountain bike. When I am home in New Zealand I spend most of my days riding my bike in the forest. I get a sense of adrenaline and achievement when you get to the top of the hill and then enjoy going down - the rush when riding over rough and smooth.

Q: Which film last made you cry? BH: You see so many movies on the planes to the next race destinations. The last movie that I saw coming here was Baby Driver. I liked it, but no big emotions. It is also the last movie that I remember by name.

Q: What are you afraid of? BH: Spiders. And not using all your potential – but I guess that goes for everyone…

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Forest cycling: a buzz for Brendon

Q: What was the last book you read? BH: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Once in a while I read this book - every time when I want a good laugh.

Q: What did your teachers say about you in your school report? BH: That I was very inquisitive. I always wanted to get to the core of things. That probably annoyed the teachers. I was very good at science, I enjoyed mathematics – I understood it and was passionate about it – but I was never really good at history or languages.

Q: Do you have any guilty pleasures? BH: I have a few pleasures, but I wouldn’t say that I feel guilty about any of them.

Q: Do you collect anything? BH: I collect the race passes. I have all of them since I have raced in Europe - all the paddock passes that I ever got. One day I will do something cool with them. Now I have a permanent one – which is a shame! (Laughs)

Q: What do you miss most about home when you’re travelling? BH: The shade of blue of the sky. Being outside in nature. Being in the forest. Ah, and the starry nights – you don’t really have them any more in most of the places around the world.

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Not just kiwis: birds were a childhood fascination for Hartley

Q: What was your worst buy? BH: Nothing really. I don’t own so many things.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing mistake you’ve ever made? BH: I can’t think of one. Actually this feels good. I know it is boring, but I don’t take myself too seriously to get embarrassed.

Q: When was the last time you were really angry? BH: I am sure there must be something. Maybe someone cut in front of me in the check-in line…

Q: Which superpower would you prefer: being able to fly or being able to become invisible? BH: Invisible. Or actually I would take both: birds always fascinated me as a child. I could watch them for hours, imagining taking off with them.

Q: Do you sing in the shower? BH: Thank God, no! (Laughs)

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In the spotlight: Brendon's not a fan of fame

Q: Do you believe in love at first sight? BH: No. Lust at first sight, yes. Love, no.

Q: What’s the worst thing about being famous? BH: I am not famous – and I don’t want to be famous. I feel sorry for people that have so much fame that they can’t sit with friends in a restaurant or do other normal things. If you can’t be normal in a public place then that must be really sad.

Q: You can invite three people to dinner, living or dead. Who do you invite? BH: Someone from one hundred years ago, someone from one hundred years in the future, someone from now – and me.

Q: What was the best thing about being a child? BH: Having no fears about the future. Experiencing things for the first time.

Q: What should everyone try once in their lifetime? BH: Having little challenges in nature. Climbing a mountain, riding a bike in the woods. Things that everybody can do.​


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