Mercedes F1's Hamilton feels he was strongest Austrian GP performer

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton believes his fourth place Austrian Grand Prix finish was not reflective of a race in which he had been "the strongest" performer

Mercedes F1's Hamilton feels he was strongest Austrian GP performer

Hamilton qualified third fastest on Saturday but was forced to start the race in eighth due to a gearbox change penalty.

He gained a position at the start when Max Verstappen was caught up in an incident, and quickly cleared the Force India of Sergio Perez and Haas's Romain Grosjean in the opening stint.

Hamilton then cleared the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen after taking an earlier pitstop, but was denied a podium in the closing laps as Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo defended his third place.

"When I go and look at the race trace, I was actually quickest of everyone today, so I actually had the strongest race," said Hamilton, whose late fastest lap of the race had the highest average speed of any so far this season.

"Once I finally got past the two cars, the Force India and the Haas, I was something like 16 seconds behind [race leader] Valtteri [Bottas] and then there was another bunch of seconds that I lost and then in the end I was only six seconds behind.

"So it was actually really positive, looking at that afterwards.

"I don't think the points really reflect that but it is what it is."

Hamilton attempted to overtake Ricciardo around the outside of Turn 4 on the penultimate lap, but could not make the move stick.

While he initially thought he could have cleared the Red Bull, Hamilton said on reflection that Ricciardo had denied him any opportunity to overtake.

"He defended his position very well, I don't think I could have done better," said Hamilton.

"At the time, when I finished the race, I was thinking maybe I could have [overtaken Ricciardo] but he was in my blindspot so I didn't know.

"So when I'm doing interviews [immediately after the race], that's what I was disappointed in, because I worked so hard to close that gap and get into that window."

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