‘Fan­tas­ti­cally fast’ Hamil­ton con­fi­dent

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

SPIEL­BERG, AUS­TRIA — Mercedes driver Lewis Hamil­ton feels con­fi­dent of a re­peat pole po­si­tion af­ter post­ing the fastest time in both prac­tice ses­sions for the Aus­trian Grand Prix on Fri­day.

The Bri­tish driver, who won here from the front last year, was 0.147 sec­onds faster than cham­pi­onship leader Se­bas­tian Vet­tel’s Fer­rari in the af­ter­noon and 0.19 ahead of Max Ver­stap­pen’s Red Bull in the morn­ing.

“The car feels fan­tas­ti­cally fast here. There’s al­ready a nice bal­ance,” Hamil­ton said. “This car is so quick in com­par­i­son to what we raced here last year. The team is in good spir­its and we’re all up for an­other ex­cit­ing fight with the Fer­raris.” The only mi­nor glitch for Hamil­ton was to come in to the pits briefly for a spark plug change in P2.

A third prac­tice ses­sion is on Satur­day morn­ing ahead of qual­i­fy­ing in the af­ter­noon.

Mercedes driver Valt­teri Bot­tas, mean­while, was third best in both ses­sions — de­spite go­ing off track three times.

The Spiel­berg track, nes­tled amid rolling hills and forests un­der the im­pos­ing Styr­ian Alps, was slip­pery and caused prob­lems on Turns 1, 6 and 7.

DARKO BANDIC, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamil­ton in Spiel­berg, Aus­tria, Fri­day.

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