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Formula 1 Austrian GP

Hamilton labels Austria sprint qualifying performance "pretty disastrous"

The Mercedes driver finished down in sixth at the Red Bull Ring

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Lewis Hamilton labelled his showing in sprint qualifying for Formula 1's Austrian Grand Prix as "pretty disastrous" as he admitted he didn't deliver a single good lap.

Mercedes had high hopes of a good showing in the shoot-out for grid positions for Saturday's sprint race, with the car having shown some promising pace early on.

But a scrappy session for Hamilton, who touched the gravel traps several times, left him down in sixth place – two slots behind his team-mate George Russell.

Reflecting on his performance, Hamilton said he had fallen short of what was needed to be fighting right at the front.

"I wasn't in the mix at all the whole session," he said. "It was pretty disastrous from my point. What can I say? Practice felt good. The car generally felt good.

"I don't think we had the pace obviously to be on pole, but, yeah, very bad laps. Every single one of them."

Hamilton did not feel that there was much potential to move forward in the sprint, as he said the real focus was on delivering more for the official qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, walks up the stairs of the Mercedes AMG hospitality unit

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, walks up the stairs of the Mercedes AMG hospitality unit

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

"I don't think overtaking is like mega here, but we'll give it our best," he said.

"It's usually not such an eventful race, so I think the focus will be mostly on getting a better qualifying tomorrow."

Russell, who fared slightly better, suspects that a too aggressive out-lap meant he pushed his tyres too hard – meaning they were not in the ideal window for the final SQ3 effort.

"The soft felt really good, to be honest, and my lap felt really strong," he said. "I was pretty surprised at the gap, but I think I probably over-egged it on my out laps.

"I took too much life out my tyres, on the out lap, and I think probably just took that sort of peak grip away from it.

"That's sort of the only explanation I've got at the moment, because the lap felt strong, probably the best lap of the session for me, yet it was quite a step backwards.

"But P4 is still a great place to be for the fight tomorrow."

Russell felt that there was potential for him to be battling for a top-three finish in the sprint, as he felt this weekend had delivered confirmation about where Mercedes stacked up in the pecking order.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Mark Sutton

"Definitely fighting for the podium tomorrow in the sprint," he said. "But obviously eyes on the main race is the most important.

"But it's validation, again, that we're kind of in this mix now. Probably a bit ahead of Ferrari at the moment.

"McLaren still seemed to be a small smidge ahead. But yeah, it's nice to sort of be at the front end more consistently."

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