RACE DEBRIEF

    ‘We had no chance to fight for the win’ – Hamilton and Bottas react to Mercedes’ difficult Austrian GP

    It’s been an incredible run – but Mercedes’ chances of taking a clean-sweep of victories in 2019 came to a disappointing end at the Austrian Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas the Silver Arrows’ highest finisher in third and Lewis Hamilton down in fifth.

    Having failed to get a car on the front row of the grid for the first time this season – following Hamilton’s demotion from P2 to P4 in qualifying – both Mercedes then struggled with overheating in the 33 degree conditions, with Bottas and Hamilton conceding places late in the race to finish P3 and P5, and take their lowest points haul since Mexico last year.

    READ MORE: Vettel says podium finish was likely ‘with a cleaner race'

    “We knew already before the race started that we’d been in trouble,” said Hamilton, who’d been on a run of four straight victories up to this point. “Those guys [the Ferraris and Red Bulls] were pushing flat-out all the way and we couldn’t do that at all. When you’re doing 400, 600 metres of lift-and-coast…

    “We’ve struggled for years here,” he added. “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.”

    Austrian GP: Vettel grabs late fourth place from Hamilton

    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

    Valtteri Bottas

    Bottas at least managed to claim a podium for the Silver Arrows – but having put up no defence against a charging Max Verstappen as he managed the temperatures on his W10, the Finn agreed that Mercedes had had no chance to fight for victory on the day.

    “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.”

    A bad race it may have been for Mercedes – but the Silver Arrows won’t be too distraught, given that their lead over Ferrari in Austria slimmed down to just 135 points with nine races now run.