Hamilton confident after leading practice runs

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July 08, 2017

SPIELBERG (AP):

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton feels confident of a repeat pole position after posting the fastest time in both practice sessions for the Austrian Grand Prix yesterday.

The British driver, who won here from the front last year, was 0.147 seconds faster than championship leader Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in the afternoon and 0.19 ahead of Max Verstappen's Red Bull in the morning.

"The car feels fantastically fast here. There's already a nice balance," Hamilton said. "This car is so quick in comparison to what we raced here last year. The team is in good spirits and we're all up for another exciting fight with the Ferraris."

The only minor glitch for Hamilton was to come in to the pits briefly for a spark plug change in P2.

"The guys did a great job to turn the car around, and we still managed to complete our programme," Hamilton said.

A third practice session is on Saturday morning, ahead of qualifying in the afternoon.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, was third best in both sessions despite going off track three times.

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