‘Fantastically fast’ Hamilton confident
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.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton in Spielberg, Austria, Friday.