Lewis Hamilton has not ruled himself out of contesting for the Styrian Grand Prix win on Sunday, but believes Mercedes won’t be able to overtake Red Bull through pace alone.
Hamilton will start the race from second on the grid alongside Max Verstappen, moving up one spot from his qualifying result due to a grid penalty for team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Last time out at the French Grand Prix, strategy played a decisive role in the outcome of the race in favour of Red Bull.
With the Milton-Keynes based squad chasing its fourth consecutive victory, Hamilton believes Mercedes won’t be able to rely on pace alone to beat it to the chequered flag.
“Generally they had a quarter of a second on us all weekend, and I think we have managed to eke closer in qualifying but in race trim yesterday, they were 0.25 ahead of us most of the time,” Hamilton said.
“It will be interesting to see if we can manage it, I don’t think we have raw pace to overtake them, that’s for sure, but we might just be able to keep up.”
Hamilton failed to improve on his final lap time in Q3, after overtaking a series of cars while on his warm up lap.
The seven-time world champion admits that his eagerness to get into clear air for his hot lap “definitely” cost him at the end of the session.
“I knew that everyone was going so slow and I was worried for not having the tyres up to temperature,” Hamilton said.
“I went on all the dirty lines so I was just picking up all the dirt on the tyres and then a poor exit out of the last corner, so already by Turn 1 I was a tenth down.
“Then already by Turn 3 I was two-tenths down. No hope in that respect and then naturally tried to overdrive to gather that time lost back but it didn’t work.”