Lewis Hamilton isn’t optimistic Mercedes can hope to overtake Max Verstappen on race day in Austria after the Red Bull star beat him to pole position for the second weekend running.
Verstappen will begin in front at Styrian Grand Prix with Hamilton taking second place after runner-up Valtteri Bottas was given a three-place penalty.
Mercedes has struggled to deal with the raw pace of the Red Bull team and Hamilton admitted it wasn’t the best of sessions in qualifying.
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"Well done to Max. They have been so fast this weekend,” he said after the race.
“I’ve been giving it everything this week. It’s been a long week for me. Pushed and got generally everything from the car, I think I advanced the team forward. But still we’re lacking performance. It was so hard to match his time today. We’re still in the fight.”
"Generally they had a quarter of a second on us all weekend,” he added.
We’ve managed to eek closer in qualifying but they’ve been .25 ahead of us most of the time. It’ll be interesting to see if we can manage it.
“I don’t think we have the raw pace to overtake [Red Bull]. But we might just be able to keep up. I’ll be giving it everything.
“I’m just talking about pure pace. Maybe we’ll be surprised tomorrow. Maybe it rains.”
Verstappen too felt he could have got more from his performance despite finishing first.
The 23-year-old will be the favourite to extend his lead over Hamilton in the driver rankings, but Verstappen is expecting a big fight from his Mercedes rival.
"It has been a very good weekend,” he said.
"Again in qualifying the car was really good to drive. It's not easy to deal with the traffic in the last few corners to get a clean run, but that first lap in Q3 was good enough in the end. A good first sector.

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"Super happy to be on pole here at home. It's always nice to see a Red Bull car first here."
He continued: “When you look at the track you think there aren’t that many corners but actually the corners on the track are quite difficult.
Even in turn one, breaking into turn three, the crest and breaking downhill into fourth. It’s definitely a small track but it’s really hard to get a good track on it.
“That first track in Q3 wasn’t perfect but was good enough”
“It’s never easy,” he added. “I wish sometimes it was easy, but it’s good for racing.
“I’m sure again tomorrow it will be very tight, so hopefully again it will be as interesting as France.”
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