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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Hamilton: I don't need to change anything

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton insists he does not need to change anything in his approach despite heading to Silverstone on the back of another average result at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Briton will enter his home race 20 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel after recovering from a pre-race grid penalty to finish fourth at the Red Bull Ring.

His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas is also breathing down his neck having sealed the second win of his career, with Ferrari's Vettel coming home a close second to extend his advantage and Daniel Ricciardo finishing third to take a podium for Red Bull at their home track.

Hamilton, still smarting after Vettel escaped any post-race reprimand for deliberately driving into him at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, came here with plenty to ponder.

He could still have taken victory on the streets of Baku only to be forced to pit with a loose headrest.

The three-time world champion was on the back-foot from the get-go in Austria as - despite setting the early pace - he would drop five places on the grid following a gearbox change.

A brake-disc failure in Saturday practice added to his issues before he could only go third-fastest in qualifying.

All in all it means the 32-year-old heads to Northamptonshire under pressure to turn things around but not, in his mind, having to alter anything to do so.

"I don't think there's a call for me to do anything else than I'm already doing," he said.

"It's not like the team aren't on my side or they're not working hard or I'm not pushing them hard enough, so all I can do is try to inspire them with the drives I had today.

"When I go and look at the race pace, I was actually quickest so I actually had the strongest race...I don't think the points really reflect this. There's nothing else I can do, I just have to keep driving the way I have been and hope things get better."

Bottas was fully deserving of his second F1 win, putting in a near-perfect qualifying lap on Saturday and then pulling off a miraculously-quick start to maintain his lead in the race.

It was that on-point that the stewards investigated whether he had jumped the start for the next 26 laps, only to deem the flying Finn had indeed timed it to perfection.

''I think that was the start of my life, I was really on it today,'' he said. ''I'm really happy.

"It is only the second win in my career, a massive thank you to the team. It is still a long year ahead, we are not even halfway and it makes good for the points, but we are still developing as a team."

Now just 35 points shy of Vettel himself, Bottas insists he is now in the fight for the title he had been targeting since leaving Williams for Mercedes in the winter.

"Since the day I signed with Mercedes, what else can you put as a target? It's always been the target but I don't want to shout about it too much," he said.

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