Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton says he will go “back to the drawing board” after being narrowly beaten to pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton had been the quicker of the two Mercedes drivers throughout all three practice sessions in Austria, but Bottas had the upper hand in qualifying and edged his teammate to the first pole on offer in the delayed 2020 season by a margin of just 0.012s.

The six-times world champion conceded Bottas simply did the “better job” in Q3 as he struggled to string together a strong enough lap to topple the Finn.

“The car was great, just didn’t manage to put the greatest laps together, so work for myself to do,” said Hamilton.

“I’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and work harder. Ultimately Valtteri just did a better job today.”

Hamilton was running behind Bottas on their respective final flying laps when the latter ran wide across the grass, throwing dust onto the track and into the path of the onrushing Hamilton.

But when asked if the dust or subsequent yellow flags had proved a distraction, the Briton replied: “Not that I saw, no.

“I came round the corner and got on the power and I thought that Valtteri had perhaps just gone wide and carried on. So I was looking out for the gravel on the track and for a car on the track but there was nothing there so I just continued on.

"It happened pretty quick and it was a pretty big puff of dust.”

The Mercedes duo ended up half a second clear of the next fastest driver as Max Verstappen and Red Bull failed to challenge for pole.

Hamilton admitted he was surprised by the gap to Mercedes’ rivals.

“We definitely didn’t expect to have that gap but it’s just a true showing of the great work everyone back at the factory continues to do,” he explained.

“Valtteri did a fantastic job today with his lap and it’s amazing. We did not expect to have that sort of gap. We thought they were definitely quick enough to be fighting for pole.

“That was the true showing of our car and we plan to try and improve on that.”

 

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