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Hamilton brands his Sprint Qualifying as ‘pretty disastrous’ following SQ3 mistake in Austria

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes walks in the Paddock

Lewis Hamilton was left feeling frustrated with his efforts after Sprint Qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix, describing “every single one” of his laps as “very bad”.

Hamilton hit the ground running during practice at the Red Bull Ring and looked to carry that form into qualifying, but ultimately wound up sixth after a mistake on his final SQ3 run.

READ MORE: Verstappen pips Norris to Sprint Qualifying pole in Austria by 0.093s

But, in addition to that error, Hamilton felt he did not extract enough from his Mercedes throughout all three Sprint Qualifying phases, with team mate George Russell managing to place fourth.

“The whole session was pretty disastrous from my point,” Hamilton said afterwards.

“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.”

Sprint Qualifying Highlights: 2024 Austrian Grand Prix

Pushed on his chances in the Sprint, he added: “Who knows? I don’t think overtaking is like mega here, but we’ll give it our best. It’s usually not such an eventful race, so I think focus will be mostly on getting a better qualifying tomorrow.”

On the other side of the garage, Russell pondered what might have been after the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen slotted ahead of him.

READ MORE: Norris confident of taking fight to Verstappen in Austria Sprint after close battle for pole

Asked about his pace on the medium tyres in SQ1 and SQ2 compared to softs in SQ3, he commented: “The soft felt really good to be honest. My lap felt really strong. I was pretty surprised at the gap.

“I think I probably over-egged it on my out-laps, took too much life out of 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.

Russell: P4 in Sprint Qualifying ‘validation that we’re in the mix now’

“The lap felt strong, probably the best lap of the session for me, yet it was quite a step backwards. P4, still a great place to be for the fight tomorrow.”

Russell is hopeful of moving forward, rather than looking in his mirrors in the Sprint, as he took positives from Mercedes’ recent encouraging run of form carrying over to another track.

READ MORE: Leclerc explains SQ3 drama in Austria after missing final timed lap

“Definitely fighting for the podium, I think, tomorrow in the Sprint,” he said. “Obviously eyes on the main race is the most important, but validation again that we’re kind of in this mix now.

“[We’re] probably a bit ahead of Ferrari at the moment, McLaren still seem to be a small smidge ahead, but it’s nice to sort of be at the front end a bit more consistently.”

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