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Lewis Hamilton set for five-place Austrian GP grid penalty

08 July, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • Four reasons to watch the Austrian Grand Prix

Hamilton now trails Vettel by 14 points in the title race approaching the halfway stage of the season.

Valtteri Bottas says the aerodynamic upgrades Mercedes have introduced to its W08 have made firm progress with its performance as he enjoys an impressive Friday practice and feels in the hunt for the top spot.

Daniel Ricciardo was twice fifth-fastest as Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has posted the fastest time in both practice sessions for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Finnish driver ran aerodynamic tests for Mercedes on a modified front wing, nose and floor during the two sessions before focusing on an ideal set-up for his auto at the Red Bull Ring.

Speaking about the incident, Hamilton said: "I just said that, for me, I have the utmost respect for him as a driver and will continue to race him hard as a driver as we always have and no less hard".

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It is a further blow to Hamilton's attempts to close his championship deficit to Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

"There's been a couple of Fridays that we've started the weekend with not a well-balanced auto at all, and now at least it is more or less there, definitely much better in practice two", he said.

"I do not have confidence that we are definitely ahead of Ferrari now", said the Finn.

"For the first time we started in a good place with the balance of the auto and we're just trying to finesse it".

Speaking afterwards but before news of his impending grid demotion broke, Hamilton told reporters: "The auto felt good".

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The German is sure to be put under scrutiny by the travelling worldwide media corps in a paddock that will keep him under close observation, and he will likely be given an even more intense on-track examination when he and Hamilton restart their scrap for the drivers' world title.

"It was another good Friday today and we seemed to be relatively competitive", he said. There's already a nice balance and it feels good out on track.

Bottas is third in the point standings right now. It was a pretty good day.

"I think we could have been a bit faster".

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