Lewis Hamilton sets the pace in Austrian Grand Prix practice

Bottas takes his second pole

SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) - Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas beat Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to take pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Bottas's Mercedes led Vettel's Ferrari by less than a tenth after the first runs in Q3, with Hamilton's Mercedes 0.131 seconds further back in third.

A victor three times so far this season, and in Austria past year, the triple world champion told reporters he was thinking only as far as the second step of the podium after a penalty for a gearbox change dropped him five places.

"It should be a good fight tomorrow, the target is not less than winning for us", Bottas said.

"I really enjoy driving here".

"We had to swap out a spark plug during FP2 (the second session), but the guys did a great job to turn the auto around and we still managed to complete our programme", Hamilton said. I'll work as hard as I can to recover and try get as many points as possible.

The Austrian Grand Prix takes place Sunday at 8AM ET from Red Bull Ring. "I'm sure Mercedes will probably turn it up for qualifying but I hope we can stay in that fight".

The pole was the second of Bottas's Formula One career after Bahrain in April. The majority of drivers I have spoken to are very happy with how the stewards, and eventually the FIA, dealt with the big controversy between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

The pair clashed in Baku when Vettel drove into the back of the Mercedes while they were behind the safety vehicle and then banged wheels angrily after pulling alongside. A similar incident occurred in Abu Dhabi previous year when Hamilton and his then-championship rival Nico Rosberg declined to take part in a stage-managed handshake in a pre-race press conference.

Two weeks ago in Baku, an irate Vettel swerved into Hamilton, albeit at slow speed, because he thought the British driver slammed his brakes on recklessly late, right in front of him, seconds earlier.

"I will do the best job I can now [given I have grid penalty] and obviously I want to get up there and try and get a 1-2 with Valtteri. Got the auto nice and stable for qualifying and was able to build up the confidence and this is a track where you really need it in the high-speed corners", said Bottas, who was very happy at the press conference.

It was a miserable qualifying for Williams, with Massa starting in 17th and Stroll in 18th, and McLaren fared only slightly better with Alonso starting 12th and Vandoorne 13th.

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