Bottas and Hamilton not plotting Vettel downfall


Valtteri Bottas rejected the notion of backing up Sebastian Vettel in order to aid Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton during Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.

Bottas clinched pole after qualifying on Saturday, ahead of Ferrari's Vettel, while Hamilton was third fastest but will start the race from eighth due to a penalty for a gearbox change.

At the Austrian GP three years ago, Hamilton finished second having started from ninth on the grid, and the three-time world champion remains optimistic of a similar performance this time around as he attempts to close the 14-point gap between himself and Vettel atop the standings.

But his Mercedes stablemate dismissed any idea of trying to hold up Vettel.

"From what I have seen in the pre-race strategy notes, that kind of plan is not on those notes," said Bottas.

"We need to focus on trying to have a good start to the race and we need to win the race.

"Lewis can fight back from where he is starting. If you start playing games it gets tricky, if the car behind gets DRS and the slipstream, then with just one mistake they can get the win."

Hamilton added: "It makes no sense for Valtteri to slow down, so he will push as hard as he can to win the race.

"Valtteri has been quickest all weekend, so it [victory] is not really in my mind at the moment.

"I am pretty sure back then [2014] there was a bigger difference of speed delta with the other cars. It is more unlikely than it was then, but I will give it everything I can and of course I will be happy if I get up there."