Vettel not thinking about championship battle in Austria

Jonathan Hernandez
July 9, 2017

"Lewis can fight back from where he is starting", he continued.

Before learning of his latest misfortune, Hamilton told reporters how he was approaching the Austrian race.

Hamilton now trails Vettel by 14 points in the title race approaching the halfway stage of the season. The penalty comes at a particularly bad time in terms of momentum.

"I accept his apology and move forwards", added the triple world champion, who nevertheless stood by his comments immediately after the race in Baku calling Vettel a "disgrace".

"But we pull together as a team and we work as hard as we can".

Ferrari, locked in a close scrap with Mercedes for the constructors' championship, has been handed an unexpected boost.

The Formula One technical delegate said in a statement he had been informed by Mercedes last Tuesday that the gearbox was damaged and needed changing, a detail the team had kept secret.

Following factory analysis of the vehicle after the Azerbaijan weekend, however, Mercedes found some damage to the gearbox and, earlier this week, it decided that it would be better to change it for this weekend rather than risk it failing. Mercedes had already changed it once before that. Hamilton had held the previous record, set on Friday. Bottas will aim for just his second victory, while Vettel is chasing a 46th - but on a track where he has twice retired, with a best finish of fourth.

"I'm pretty sure that back then there was a bigger difference in speed deltas between us and other cars so I think it's more unlikely than it was then", he said, "but I will give it everything I can and of course I would be happy if I could get up there". The second attack was not, which is staged Bottas who scored his second pole position of his career. This year, Vettel is first in the point standings.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel still leads the drivers championship with 141 points to his name 12 ahead of second placed Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton who has 129 points. There was another practice session Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon.

Hamilton vows to stay positive after rival Sebastian Vettel starts Austrian GP six places higher
Hamilton vows to stay positive after rival Sebastian Vettel starts Austrian GP six places higher

"I didn't really get to do a proper long run at the end because we had a couple of issues but otherwise it was a smooth day".

Asked if he could win the race, a downbeat Hamilton said "it's not really on my mind at the moment".

At a packed news conference on Thursday (Friday NZT), Vettel made a full apology which Hamilton accepted - although he maintained the German driver should have been further punished over the incident.

"I will do the best job I can tomorrow".

There was a significant section of the crowd only interested in one man, though - the Dutch contingent packing out the stands to cheer on Max Verstappen, finishing P4 in Q2.

Daniel Ricciardo benefitted from the chaos in Baku to take the team's first win of the season.

Williams' miserable weekend in Spielberg continued as both Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were eliminated in Q1, finishing 17th and 18th as the new updates for the FW40 auto continued to cause headaches. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany, left, was second and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain was third.

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.

Last year, he won from pole in style.

That, at least, may boost Hamilton's morale.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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