Motor racing-Hamilton aims for damage limitation

Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:11pm EDT
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By Michael Shields

SPIELBERG Austria (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton arrived at the Austrian Grand Prix with victory in his sights but damage limitation was the order of the day after Saturday's error-strewn qualifying.

The 2008 Formula One world champion, 22 points behind Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg after seven races despite having four wins to the German's two, failed to set a lap time in the final shootout for pole.

The Briton's first flying lap of the Red Bull Ring was disallowed for exceeding the track limits, running wide at turn eight where drivers had been warned not to, and then he spun on the second after braking.

Hamilton, who was fastest in Friday practice, will start in ninth place on the grid with Rosberg lining up third, behind the Mercedes-powered Williams cars of Brazilian Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

"Sometimes you get it all together, sometimes you don't and today I didn't get the job done," the Mercedes driver told reporters.

"I still need to look at the data to see exactly what happened. It's a long race and I need to try and recover as much as I can from this loss.

"The shot for the win will be very hard so I guess it's mainly a case of damage limitation. I will be doing all I can to put myself in a strong position and to get good points for the team."

Hamilton has had two retirements this season, while Rosberg has finished either first or second in all races, and can ill afford to let his ultra-consistent rival get even further ahead.   Continued...

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain arrives for the third practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg June 21, 2014. REUTERS/David W Cerny