• Haryanto says grid penalty ‘a bit harsh’

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    MANOR Racing’s Indonesian driver Rio Hayranto on Thursday termed as “rash” the three-place grid penalty he received at the Australian Grand Prix a fortnight ago.

    He was slapped with the penalty following a collision with Roman Grosjean of Haas during practice at Melbourne.

    “It was very unfortunate, the full incident involved both of us going out at the same time,” said Hayranto, the first Indonesian to race in Formula One, speaking to journalists at the Indonesian Embassy in Bahrain.

    “I cannot speak much about the punishment but to give me a penalty was a bit harsh. However, I definitely learned something from it,” said the 23-year-old.

    Hayranto pulled out of his debut Formula One race after 18 laps from technical issues.

    “To not finish my first race is very disappointing and the fact that it was due to a technical issue is also hard. I tried to spend the weekend gaining experience. The switch from GP2 to Formula One is not easy, specially with these cars, you can expect anything like this to happen,” Hayranto said.

    He is hoping his experience at the Bahrain International Circuit in GP2 gives him an upper hand in Sunday’s race. He finished first in last year’s GP2 race while racing for Campos Racing team.

    Hayranto also played down the issues involving unstable weather conditions in the Kingdom, claiming his experience on different tracks around the world will seem him through.

    Haryanto had initially taken a step into Formula One in 2010 as a test driver for Marussia Virgin Racing before heading back to GP2 to continue a successful career.

    “Virgin Racing gave me an opportunity to start trying out Formula One. However I could not break into the driver’s position,” he added.

    “I went back to GP2 and tried to improve my results to move up again until I finally got this opportunity with Manor Racing,” he said.

    Hayranto also highlighted the pride he feels being the first ever Indonesian Formula One driver. “The warm welcome I got as soon as I arrived in Bahrain made me feel special. I am very proud to be the first-ever Indonesian Formula One driver.”

    “I also know that I am not only Indonesia’s first driver, but Asia’s only driver in Formula One this season. I am feeling positive and more relaxed now. I hope we manage to get positive results,” he added.

    TNS

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