Ricciardo playful as Hamilton cops penalty

Beth Cruz
July 9, 2017

Mercedes said they had ruled out the possibility that the damage to Hamilton's vehicle was done when four-time champion German Vettel of Ferrari twice drove into him during last month's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton qualified third but was hit with a five-place gearbox penalty, with Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo occupying the second row of the grid. The Ferrari driver now has a 14-point advantage over Hamilton in the championship standings already, but said it is too early to start thinking about extending that gap on Sunday. The penalty comes at a particularly bad time in terms of momentum.

"This was a completely different matter but, clearly, Sebastian has had some very strong warnings".

Ferrari, locked in a close scrap with Mercedes for the constructors' championship, has been handed an unexpected boost.

Vettel managed to stick closer to Hamilton in the latter session, suggesting that qualifying may not quite be a cut and dried affair. The change was made Tuesday, and Mercedes had already changed it once before the last race.

Vettel had to make a public apology after accusing his rival of "brake-testing" him after the Ferrari driver drove into the back of the Mercedes and then banged wheels while they were behind the safety vehicle.

Lewis Hamilton edged title rival Sebastian Vettel in an uneventful Friday of practice for the 2017 Austrian Grand Prix. He has not finished off the podium for two successive races since failing to reach the rostrum in the 2013 season finale in Brazil and the 2014 season opener in Australia.

"It has been a pretty good day at the track, pretty good from the get-go".

Both of Bottas' pole positions have been since joining Mercedes this season.

Vettel was almost two-tenths down in second, but will harbor a strong belief that he can claim pole and end Mercedes' three-year dominance on the Austrian track in the Styrian Alps.

"It feels good", Bottas said, when asked for his thoughts on a second career pole.

In the championship standings, four-time champion Vettel leads three-time champion Hamilton by 14 points after eight races.

Practice session 1 - 10:00am local time, 1:30pm IST and 4:00am EST. Today it is still hard to judge, but the vehicle is very good and we made some improvements.

In fact, Hamilton was quicker than Bottas in every single session through the weekend top 10 qualifying shoot-out. "I definitely think we can improve, generally do from Friday to the Saturday". Bottas took pole with Hamilton third on track, but eighth on the grid.

But his Williams teammate Felipe Massa hardly fared better and starts from 17th.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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