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Bottas bags second pole of career in Austria

09 July, 2017, 01:13 | Author: Christina Hansen

Mercedes had already changed it once before that. The team said it was a brake disk failure and Hamilton's mechanics worked frantically to get his auto ready for qualifying.

After seeing the Mercedes man go fastest in both of Friday's sessions, Vettel responded with a time of one minute, 5.092 seconds in FP3.

"It makes no sense for Valtteri to slow down so that will not be the case", Hamilton explained. However, the three-time world champion is less confident that he can perform similar heroics this time around.

"Tomorrow I don't think we are quite there in terms of speed to fight with Mercedes and Ferrari, but as we have seen a lot can happen in the race so anything is possible".

"From what I have seen in the pre-race strategy notes, that kind of plan is not on", said the Finn.

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This will make it hard for Redbull to get their cars onto the podium.

A messy end to Q3 left Valtteri Bottas on pole for the 2nd time in his career, ahead of championship leader Sebastien Vettel.

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was fifth fastest at his Red Bull team's scenic home circuit with Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo, victor of the dramatic previous race in Azerbaijan, sixth.

But his Williams teammate Felipe Massa hardly fared better and starts from 17th.

"Obviously, you're planning an overtake, etcetera - but sitting here I think I would say it doesn't impact on the next race and who you're racing", Formula One official website quoted Vettel as saying.

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

In Q1, Jolyon Palmer ended up just on the wrong side of the cut-off in 16th for Renault - 0.029secs shy of Vandoorne and Q2.

Qualifying is on Saturday after a final practice and Hamilton will be hoping that he is fastest to minimise the drop and that Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas is second to deny Vettel the top slot.

Hamilton finished nearly two-tenths behind Bottas in third place, meaning he will start eighth on Sunday.

The team found damage to the unit in checks after the Azerbaijan GP, and earlier this week decided that it would change the gearbox rather than risk it failing. I lost points in the last race and I want to reverse that.

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Asked if he could win the race, a downbeat Hamilton said "it's not really on my mind at the moment". In 2014, after a scrappy performance in qualifying, he started from ninth place and recovered with a strong drive to finish in second place.

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