He might have had a bad Saturday but Lewis Hamilton says he’s looking forward to fighting his way up from ninth on the grid in Austria tomorrow.
The Mercedes driver was surprisingly upbeat given his disastrous qualifying session, which began with his first time being cancelled for exceeding track limits, and ended with a spin at Turn 2 on his final run.
“That’s just the approach I’m going to have,” he said when asked by this writer if he expected to enjoy himself as he fought his way through. “I’m going to try and have fun. I’m obviously going to try and stay out of trouble amongst all the cars that are around where I am, and take my time. There’s a long, long race tomorrow, and strategy and all these different things.
“It’s not going to be easy, for sure. I’ve got all these quick cars in front of me and it’s great to see Williams so fast today, it’s really good for them to have a front row. Sometimes it’s other people’s turn. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll still have a good race for them.”
Lewis said that he had to target victory: “Always. Even if I was starting last I’m always going for the win. Obviously it gets harder and harder the further back you go.
“I have to sit down and talk to my strategist. It’s so difficult to know how things will pan out. Do you sit back a little bit and wait for people’s tyres to go off and then push, do you just go all out at the beginning and potentially risk your tyres going off a little bit sooner than others? I really don’t know just yet what the plan of attack is. All I know is hopefully I’m just going for the win. We’ll see how it works out. It’s obviously damage limitation, it’s to try and get as many points tomorrow ands get some more points on the scoreboard.”
Hamilton did not make any excuses for his Q3 spin: “We don’t know exactly what happened but I assume I just pressed the brake too hard.”
He had no problem with losing his earlier time for exceeding track limits.
“It’s quite cool that they’ve put the limit there. Of course policing it is not the easiest. Some people have gone wide and not been done, some people have gone a little bit wide and they have been done. I think they did a good job. Today we had a little pace in the car, so it hurts a little bit in the gut but I’ll try and make up for that tomorrow.”
He also insisted that his mistakes today and in Montreal qualifying were not due to pressure.
“I don’t think I’m trying too hard. My laps have been pretty good all weekend, I knew I had extra time in my pocket. I pulled it out on my first lap and then obviously didn’t finish the lap. Then the second time round, I was just taking the car into unknown territories, I guess. There’s a long way to go, so don’t rule me out here.”