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Mercedes: Bottas makes the world go round

The Spielberg expert has struck again: last year’s winner and pole setter Valtteri Bottas has once again secured the first starting point in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix 2018 on the Red Bull ring.

Valtteri has completed an incredible round. He deserves to be in the front. I made a small mistake, so I’m very happy with my second place,”WM leader Lewis Hamilton praises his teammate afterwards.

That’s what team leader Toto Wolff says about Bottas:”His two rounds in Q3 were spectacular. He seems to be on the right track, but he has been very good for a long time now and had some very good performances. It is constantly evolving, one likes to see that.”

One would also like to see at Mercedes that the updates at the W09 ignite and have brought the car back before the competitor Ferrari after the Canada bankruptcy. With the drive upgrade from France you got double poles and racing tracks, at the Red Bull ring now both drivers are fascinated by the big aerodynamic update, which gave the Boliden new side boxes, new suspension for the exterior mirrors and a revised rear wing. Bottas, in particular, was right to do so. He has already said in the third Free Training that the car is perfect,”reveals Wolff.

Bottas lets it fly in Q3, Hamilton and Vettel with errors

“We did a very good job,”Supervisor Niki Lauda therefore sends a compliment to the factory in Brackley, while Wolff reminds, That the Red Bull ring has always been in the silver. Since 2015, pole position and race race only passed the World Championship team. We know that the route has been good to us in the past. We also brought an upgrade here and the new engine in Le Castellet. In Q3 we then detonated the bomb in the rear, and that was enough.”

In the third qualifying section Bottas set off like the fire brigade and set a peak time of 1:03.264 minutes on Ultrasoft tires. Hamilton, on the other hand, lost the rear of his car in curve 3, had to steer extremely, and was as backward on the Finnish as Ferrari-Star Vettel, who was almost a whole second behind after the first attempt. It’s not easy to get everything together here. Even if there are only seven right curves, you make a mistake fast. But my first try was good. This helped, I could build on it and improve myself a little bit,”says Bottas.

In his last round he was again around 0134 seconds faster –an improvement that was also necessary to secure his first pole position of the year. Because teammate Hamilton dramatically closed down and would have snatched the first starring spot out of the 28-year-old by a hair.” After my mistake at first I had no room for manoeuvre and could not take full risk. Still, the round was pretty good and the distance between us is small. That’s why I’m satisfied,”said the four-time World Champion.

Silver focuses on Supersoft: Are the tougher Pirellis the better ones?

“I think the track has improved a little bit for the second attempt,”Bottas, who believes.”It’s because of self-confidence.” We had a great balance in the car today and I was able to push.”

His attack on the first race in Formula One season 2018 will be attacked by the Finnish on Sunday as well as teammate Hamilton with super soft tires. Like last week in le Castellet, the top Mercedes and Ferrari teams rely on different tyre strategies. While the Scuderia pilots will go into the race with the softest available mix, the silver ones draw the conclusions from the long run analyses from Friday.

Hamilton got on the soft tires best and meant afterwards.” The tougher tyre seems to be better for me.”Moreover, in the silver camp, there is a renewed fear of bubble formation at the rear tyre, with which one had to contend also last year at Bottas Spielberg victory. On Sunday it will be warmer again, the tires are expected to be used more than in previous days.

With the super soft tires on which he set his fastest time in Q2, Hamilton complained at the beginning about vibrations on the front axle and also had a small slider in the first sector. However, both Mercedes pilots on the harder mix were initially faster than Vettel on ultrasound. The fastest time in Q2 was only achieved by the German in his second attempt with the softest mixture. Independently of the Pirellis, he used the silver arrows mainly in the second section of the line, while sector three was clearly a Mercedes country. In the fast curves 9 and 10, Bottas and Hamilton were able to fully play out the strengths of the silver arrow and gain time against Ferrari.

What is the threat of Vettel in the first round?

Now the World Championship team has a brilliant starting position to triumph in Spielberg as in previous years. 2017 Bottas won from the pole position after a lightning start, which he later described as the best start of his life. Is this necessary again this Sunday?” It’s a pretty short way to the first bend here. A normal start should actually be enough to stay ahead,”he stresses casually.

More doubts, on the other hand, team leader Wolff, the Ferrari-Star Vettel, despite the Mercedes double pole, does not want to write off:”The first round will be tough. We’re a little worried already. Up to curve 3 and 4, the Ferrari is incredibly good at traction and top speed. We’ll have to get very broad tomorrow to stay ahead,”the team board fears. Lauda, on the other hand, can’t bend a little sideways towards Vettel: “I hope Sebastian tomorrow will remember not to make a mistake. Then the first round should go well over the stage.”