Sport24.co.za | Ericsson had 'good fun' battling Hartley

Cape Town – Marcus Ericsson relished his battle with Brendon Hartley in the Belgian Grand Prix, saying it was good fun fighting “hard but fair.” 

Tussling over 10th place at Spa on Sunday, Ericsson and Hartley passed one another no fewer than four times in the space of just two laps. 

Every time one would get ahead, the other would DRS and slipstream to retake the position. 

Their fight eventually ended when Hartley pitted. 

Ericsson, who came in for his one stop earlier in the race, stayed out to finish the grand prix in 10th place. 

He said: “It was a pretty good race, I had a good start and a good first lap. 

“I stayed out of all those problems at the start, and from then on, I had some fun fights with the Williams in the beginning and then the Toro Rosso in the later stages. 

“We had some good fights there. The problem here is that if you overtake and then they get the DRS then it is easy for them to get back past so we had some back and forth but we managed to get them. 

“It was good fun, and Brendon is a good friend of mine from back in the day so we can fight hard but fair, so it was good to go wheel to wheel with him. 

“To be fair, the Honda engine is not bad. Like I said, I got him into Turn 1 twice, but both time he got me on the straight after Eau Rouge so definitely it is not that bad.” 

It was a good weekend in general for the Swede, who is fighting to retain his Sauber seat for next season. 

And while Ericsson once again failed to out-qualify his team-mate Charles Leclerc, handing the rookie an unassailable lead in their qualifying head-to-head, he was happy to get within a tenth of him. 

“I feel like the last few weekends have been better,” Ericsson explained. “It is mainly in qualifying where he has been able to be very, very strong there. 

“It is usually in the races where we are quite closely matched, but obviously starting three, four, five places back, it makes a big difference when it is so tight in the midfield. 

“That is why the last few weekends, I have been happy with my progress in qualifying. I out-qualified him in Hungary and now just a tenth in between us Saturday in qualifying so I need to continue there because that will be the key for the second half of the season.”

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