Bottas edges Hamilton for Austrian GP pole

Bottas edges Hamilton for Austrian GP pole

Bottas edges Hamilton for Austrian GP pole

It has won all four races since the Austrian GP returned to the calendar in 2014, with Hamilton and Bottas triumphing in the past two seasons.

The Mercedes driver looked to be cruising to victory but retired from the race with a loss of fuel pressure, after suffering tyre problems and a major strategy error.

Vettel, who started sixth after collecting a three place grid penalty, now has 146 points to Hamilton's 145 after nine rounds and with the Briton's home race at Silverstone next weekend.

"We can not throw away points".

'We don't need to make changes, ' Hamilton's boss Wolff said.

Hamilton was leading the race in the early laps but Mercedes failed to pit him during a virtual safety auto period, which meant he lost the lead when he did eventually stop under racing conditions.

James Vowles is the man in charge of strategy at Mercedes, and is now under increasing scrutiny.

Having led a one-two after the opening lap, Mercedes eventually saw both their cars retire on a day where Hamilton and Mercedes both lost their world championship leads.

Hamilton said Bottas deserved to beat him. Everyone is going to be feeling the pain. "Ultimately, we have to take positives where we can".

"I'm not going to lie, all areas we're going to have to work on", Hamilton told Channel 4.

"The vehicle has been great all weekend". All we can do is move forward.

"I haven't got much time left".

"I think the auto in front of me, the Mercedes, disturbed the downforce a bit and then obviously got the run and I tried to hang on on the outside but I got a little bit sideways because I guess we touched a little bit and lost a place but I think we got the best out of it, not taking each out and still fighting in that kind of corner that is fast speed and not very easy to stay next to each other when you try. We have lost a lot of points this year through bad calls and reliability". I anticipate it being one of the closest qualifying sessions that we've probably had this season.

"We could all have done a better job this weekend". But then to have two different faults is very unusual. The vehicle has behaved as well as we expected.

Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen was best of the rest in the first session, at a circuit owned by the energy drink company, but slipped back to fifth later on and behind Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

"The development race is always tight", he said, after confirming that in addition to the upgraded engine introduced last weekend at Le Castellet, he and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas will have several chassis and bodywork upgrades this weekend.

"Ferrari will start on the ultrasoft tyres whereas Red Bull and us will start on the supersofts so that will be interesting", he acknowledged.

"We have thrown away the win", said Hamilton, with Vowles replying: "This is James, I have thrown away the win today", before the retirement made it immaterial.

According to Lauda, the wrong call happened as Bottas' exit left the team baffled for a moment.

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