Bottas focused on Austria win, not helping Hamilton

Bottas focused on Austria win, not helping Hamilton

Vettel was almost two-tenths down in second, but will harbor a strong belief that he can claim pole and end Mercedes' three-year dominance on the Austrian track in the Styrian Alps. "I just didn't hook it up when we got to Q3, but Q1 and Q2 were good, Q3 was just so-so". "I want to win the next 12 races", he said.

"It's a bit surprising", Red Bull Racing's Ricciardo said.

But Hamilton refused claiming he already had and walked off.

Hamilton had been fastest in the first round of qualifying.

SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) - Lewis Hamilton's chances of winning the Austrian Grand Prix have been hit by a five-place grid penalty for an unauthorized gearbox change.

Vettel, who finished fourth in Baku, apologised for the incident of "road rage" - and for claiming that Hamilton "brake-tested" him - after a hearing in Paris on Monday.

Hamilton added: "It makes no sense for Valtteri to slow down, so he will push as hard as he can to win the race". However, with the rest of the pack starting on ultra-softs, Hamilton will be able to go longer into the race before pitting and will enjoy a pace advantage towards the end after pitting. But he is not confident of a repeat performance.

"It has been a pretty good day at the track, pretty good from the get-go", he said.

"I have the supersoft for tomorrow", Hamilton confirmed. If I did think RedBull where going to race well I may be inclined to look a podium finish at the 5/2, 11/4 mark.

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"There were some cars in the last sector [during the first push lap], the last three corners, which didn't help".

It will give them some real test of their vehicle and the conditions before the all-important qualifying on Saturday where attaining a pole position would be on all drivers' agenda, especially for Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas.

Vettel will share the front row with Bottas, with Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull's Australian Daniel Riccardo on the second row.

But his Williams teammate Felipe Massa hardly fared better and starts from 17th. They were on pole on this circuit just three short years ago.

Hamilton, who had told reporters earlier that pole was the goal, is 14 points behind Vettel after eight of 20 races.

Mercedes ruled out that contact as the cause of the gearbox problems.

Hamilton failed to find his best level in Q3, calling his drive "so-so".

Ferrari, which is in a close scrap with Mercedes for the constructors' championship, has been handed an extra boost by Hamilton's grid penalty. The change was made Tuesday and came after Baku. According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Lewis Hamilton is the favorite to win this race, as he has -128 odds to win.

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