Bottas beats Vettel to pole in Austria

Bottas beats Vettel to pole in Austria

"The vehicle was getting better and better as the day went on and I'm very happy to be on pole", Bottas said, whose fastest lap was 1 minute, 4.251 seconds at the Spielberg circuit.

"The auto was getting better and better and the grip was coming up".

Hamilton won 12 months ago, emerging less scathed from a last-lap tangle with team-mate Nico Rosberg to end the German's previous grip over the event.

He said in a packed press conference of Thursday: 'At the time I was surprised. "The balance of the auto feels good and we'll fine tune the set-up tonight for qualifying".

He was about to go again when there were yellow flags out for two different incidents.

"I was just able to build up the confidence, and this is a track where you need it in high speed corners".

"It should be a good race".

Asked if he was pleased to be back in the vehicle rather than discussing the clash with Vettel in Azerbaijan, Hamilton said: "That is what I came to do".

Hamilton was third, but he will drop five places due to a gearbox change being needed on his auto, and he will fall behind the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, the two Red Bull Racing cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, as well as the Haas of Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez's Force India on the grid.

Other short odds to win are Sebastian Vettel (+187) and Valtteri Bottas (+375).

More seriously, Ricciardo said he was confident heading into the weekend after getting his first look at the Spielberg circuit. I am happy to have been third.

"Of course I'd have loved to improve my lap but it just wasn't meant to be today", he added.

"I enjoyed it today as the vehicle was getting better and better. I'm sure Mercedes will probably turn it up for qualifying but I hope we can stay in that fight".

Dutch teenager Max Verstappen was fifth fastest at his Red Bull team's scenic home circuit with Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo, victor of the dramatic previous race in Azerbaijan, sixth.

"You can never predict qualifying but it was reasonable".

"I'll do the best job I can". I got the auto to the limit.

"I want to get up there and try and get a one-two with Valtteri", Hamilton replied when asked what his plan was for the race. You lose easily two and a half tenths on that straight if you don't have DRS.

"It was pretty straightforward session, there were no real issues, the auto was good", he said. Vettel said Saturday he hoped that time would fix the damage to their respectful rivalry.

Carlos Sainz Jr's Toro Rosso made Q3 for the first time since May's Monaco GP and rounded out the top 10.

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