Hamilton: Bottas was just better than me

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton PA

Lewis Hamilton PA

Lewis Hamilton says he will head back to the “drawing board” after losing out to the “better” Valtteri Bottas during qualifying for the Austrian GP.

As Bottas put it, Mercedes were in their own league during qualifying, but it was the Finn who won the Silver Arrows-battle.

Bottas would set a new track record when he dipped into the 1:02s during Q3, sealing pole with a blistering 1:02.939.

Hamilton had to settle for P2, falling short by 0.012s, and for now the six-time World Champion is going to think up a new gameplan.

“The car was great, just didn’t manage to put the greatest laps together, so work for myself to do,” he told reporters at the Red Bull Ring.

“I’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and work harder. Ultimately Valtteri just did a better job today.”

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In trying to shave even more time off his provisional pole lap, Bottas went off the track twice.

He would kick up a cloud of dust after going onto the grass, but Hamilton said this didn’t play a part in him missing out.

Neither did the yellow flag which Bottas also briefly brought out on that lap.

“Not that I saw, no,” he said.

“I came round the corner and got on the power and I thought that Valtteri had perhaps just gone wide and carried on. So I was looking out for the gravel on the track and for a car on the track but there was nothing there so I just continued on.

“It happened pretty quick and it was a pretty big puff of dust.”

With Max Verstappen over half a second slower in P3, it’s no surprise that Bottas claimed Mercedes were in their “own league”.

And Hamilton was surprised by the performance advantage which his team had.

“We definitely didn’t expect to have that gap but it’s just a true showing of the great work everyone back at the factory continues to do,” he said.

“Valtteri did a fantastic job today with his lap and it’s amazing. We did not expect to have that sort of gap. We thought they were definitely quick enough to be fighting for pole.

“That was the true showing of our car and we plan to try and improve on that.”

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