Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says that Red Bull definitely has the upper hand in Austria and will be hard to beat at their home track this weekend.
Hamilton was a third of a second off the pace set by Max verstappen in the Friday afternoon timesheets, although he had managed to go faster in a lap subsequently deleted for exceeding track limits.
“I think we were a little bit down, particularly over a single lap,” Hamilton suggested afterwards, saying that todays’ running had been “a work in progress.”
“Generally over the day the car felt relatively solid,” he reported. “I didn’t really have too many big problems today. I’m happier with where we got the car to.
“I’ve been working flat out all week trying to understand where I want to put the car. I’m hopeful that the hard work starts paying off soon.
“[There were] some weaknesses and as I said coming into the weekend, we’re losing on the straight a considerable amount,” he continued. “We’ve just got to keep working to try and rectify that.
“It’s very close I think with the whole pack,” he suggested. “The Red Bulls, definitely, will be really hard to beat.
“I think one of my laps got taken away and it was a lot closer. It’s close, but as I said – particularly in race pace – they were really, really strong.
“They’re throwing some really good punches right now, so we’ve just got to have our guards up and make sure we’re ready for the return.
“I think they’ve just got the edge, maybe more. We don’t know what they’re going to do when they turn that engine up.
Hamilton pledged to “do everything I can during the evening to make steps in the right direction” but admitted he felt he was “kind of eking most of it out of the car” already.