Austrian GP: Lewis Hamilton aims to win race after qualifying loss
Hamilton vows to work on qualifying after losing out to Bottas, but says "lots to play for" in race; Watch Sunday's race at 2.10pm on Sky F1, build-up at 12.30pm
By James Galloway and Matt Morlidge in Spielberg
Last Updated: 01/07/18 3:06pm
Lewis Hamilton accepted Valtteri Bottas outperformed him in Austrian GP qualifying but says there remains "lots to play for" from the front row in Sunday's race.
Whereas Hamilton was always left playing catch-up in Q3 when a mistake on his first hot lap meant he did not post a strong 'banker' time, the error-free Bottas clocked two successive track records in the final phase to ensure he was the quicker of the two Mercedes drivers on what proved an all-silver front row.
It was the fourth time in nine races Bottas has got the better in qualifying so far this season, but the first time it has seen the Finn land pole position.
"Valtteri did a better job today, I'm happy for him," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1.
"I've got to work hard to try and improve my qualifying."
With the upgraded Mercedes car proving the quickest package over a single lap for the second successive weekend, Hamilton still outpaced nearest title challenger Sebastian Vettel - and now, thanks to a three-place grid penalty for the Ferrari driver, there will be four places between F1 2018's top two on Sunday's grid.
Hamilton had topped both of Friday's practice sessions and said he was feeling good in the W09 until the small error at Turn Three at the start of Q3 handed Bottas the initiative.
"It had gone relatively well through the weekend, the pace was good, it was quite good throughout qualifying, it was obviously very close between us all," he said.
"Right at the end I made a mistake on the first run and when you don't have your first lap as a banker, you're kind of building from scratch for the second one, so it always helps when you get a good first lap in because then you can try to improve on it the next time.
"But the next one was really good and obviously it was quite close between us, which I'm happy about and it's still a one-two for the team and lots to play for."
However, Hamilton did add one note of caution to Sky F1: "You can't really follow here so I doubt there will be a lot of overtaking. We have three DRS zones, I'm not really sure that's going to make a big enough difference. But we'll see."
Can pole-man Bottas banish his misfortune?
Bottas will hope to convert his first F1 2018 pole position into a first victory, and Toto Wolff said the Finn deserves to end a rotten run of bad luck.
"He had so much bad luck in Baku when he should have won the race, and in Shanghai he could have won the race," the Mercedes chief told reporters. "At Le Castellet he was a victim in Lap One and he could have won.
"He would have been very close to the lead of the championship. I believe in karma and I think it's going to go back to Valtteri, the bad luck he has will eventually convert into good luck."
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Wolff also heralded the new Mercedes aerodynamic upgrades, which have given the world champions another boost in their fight with Ferrari, following on from the new engine last weekend.
"One or two tenths make all the difference this year," he added. "Obviously in Le Castellet and now, we've brought the engine upgrade and the chassis upgrade and that's given us a little buffer again.
"The development race is going to continue and you need to bring performance, possibly to every race if you can."
SUNDAY SCHEDULE ON SKY SPORTS F1
10.15am: Formula 2 Race Two LIVE!
12.30pm: Austrian GP Pit Lane LIVE!
1.30pm: Austrian GP On The Grid LIVE!
2.10pm: THE AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX LIVE!
4.30pm: Austrian GP Paddock LIVE!
Can Sebastian Vettel bounce back at the Austrian GP or will Lewis Hamilton extend his championship advantage? Watch the race live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday - build-up at 12.30pm, lights out at 2pm. Get Sky Sports F1.