Lewis Hamilton says he lost rhythm after early Q3 error

SPIELBERG, Austria -- Lewis Hamilton blamed his own error for losing out on pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton finished just 0.019s behind Bottas in the final standings, a deficit Mercedes said equated to just 1.3 metres of the 4.318 kilometre Red Bull Ring. The reigning world champion said an error at the beginning of Q3, where he missed the apex at Turn 3 and ran off the racing line, ruined the rhythm he had taken into the final session.

"Firstly congratulations to Valtteri, he did a fantastic job to be on pole today," Hamilton said after qualifying. "It had gone relatively well, a good weekend, pace was relatively good throughout qualifying. It was obviously very close between us all.

"Right at the end, I think I made a mistake on the first run. When you don't have your first lap as a banker, you kind of go from scratch on the second one."

"It always helps when you get a good first lap in, you can try to improve on it. The next one was really good, and obviously it was quite close between us which I'm happy about. Still a 1-2 for the team.

When asked how much different it made to race preparation when lining up alongside a teammate, he said: "Not really much different. Obviously when you're on the front row and you're on your own, when you're first, you've got a clear view. But it's no different to being third or fourth. It's the same."

Mercedes' path to victory appears to have become a lot easier in the hours after the race, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel -- Hamilton's main championship rival -- relegated from third to sixth on the grid for impeding Renault's Carlos Sainz during qualifying.