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We did not prepare - Hamilton queries Mercedes strategy

Lewis Hamilton

Spielberg, July 1: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton questioned his team's preparation for the Austrian Grand Prix as they failed to win a Formula One race for the first time in 2019.

The Silver Arrows' run of victories came to an end at the ninth event of the season, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen triumphing at the circuit for the second year in a row.

Hamilton could only finish fifth, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas was forced to settle for third as Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc fought it out for victory.

For many viewers, the race was a refreshing change-up from utter Mercedes dominance, but Hamilton clearly did not see it that way.

"We've struggled for years here," he said, before speaking of overheating he suffered.

"I don't really understand why we haven't prepared for this race particularly, but we've been struggling in that area with temperature, and today you saw the worst of it.

"We knew already before the race started that we'd been in trouble. Those guys were pushing flat out all the way and we couldn't do that at all."

Bottas was more positive, happy to take a podium finish from a tougher-than-expected weekend.

"It was difficult," he said. "We suffered a lot with overheating today of our power units, the amount of lift-and-coast we had to do to keep the temperatures low.

"It was getting pretty difficult to drive, and that's why I couldn't really attack, couldn't really defend that well. It was a bit of a survival game, so in that sense, really pleased to be on the podium, but for sure, a weekend we need to learn from. We had no chance to fight for the win today."

Despite the rare hiccup, Hamilton still holds a 31-point lead atop the driver standings.

Bottas (166 points) sits second, ahead of Verstappen (126), Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel (123) and Leclerc (105).

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Story first published: Monday, July 1, 2019, 1:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 1, 2019
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