Lewis Hamilton has vowed to bring the ‘fight’ to Red Bull but admits Mercedes don’t have the ‘pure pace’ to overtake them on Sunday after championship leader Max Verstappen secured pole position ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Dutchman set a blistering time of 1:03.841s around the Red Bull Ring, two tenths faster than Bottas who set a 1:04.035s with Hamilton behind on a 1:04.067.
Hamilton seemed to struggle for much of the three qualifying sessions, despite topping free practice three on Saturday morning.
The Mercedes driver was quick out of the pit at the start of Q3, an unusual move for a driver in his position, but only mustered a third fastest time, behind his team-mate Bottas, who will drop to fifth after receiving a penalty in practice.
“Firstly well done to Max, he did, I mean, they’ve been so fast this weekend, I’ve been giving it absolutely everything, but yeah, just wasn’t the greatest of sessions.
“But nonetheless we’re still on the front row, obviously after the penalties, but I did everything I could, and we go into the race tomorrow for a fight.
Hamilton starts on the medium tyre tomorrow, behind main championship leader Verstappen as he looks to close the 12 point gap at the top of the standings.
“Generally they’ve had a quarter of a second on us all weekend, and I think we’ve managed to eek closer in qualifying but in race pace yesterday though .45s ahead of us, most of the time, so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not we can manage it.
“I don’t think we have real pace to overtake them, that’s for sure. But might just be able to keep up.
“We’ll be giving it everything, obviously, but I’m just talking about pure pace, but maybe tomorrow, We’ll be surprised, maybe it rains.”
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