Formula One: Hamilton doubts he can repeat epic 2014 feats

(From left) Vettel, Bottas and Hamilton celebrate after the qualifying session.
(From left) Vettel, Bottas and Hamilton celebrate after the qualifying session.PHOTO: EPA

SPIELBERG, Austria (AFP) - Lewis Hamilton was quick to cast doubts on his chances of producing a repeat of his epic triumphs of 2014 after he qualified third fastest, for eighth on the grid, for Sunday's (July 9) Austrian Grand Prix.

The 32-year-old Briton won the 2014 British Grand Prix from sixth on the grid and finished a stirring second behind then Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg at the Red Bull Ring after starting ninth.

But Hamilton believes a repeat is unlikely in this year's contest in the Styrian Alps.

"Congratulations to Valtteri and to Sebastian," he said.

"They were both very fast. I did the best job that I could and I will do the best job I can tomorrow. I want to get a one-two with Valtteri so will try to do that."

Asked about his 2014 exploits, he said: "I'm pretty sure back then there was a bigger difference in speed deltas between us and the other cars... So, I think it's more unlikely now than it was then, but I'll give it everything I can and of course I'll be happy if I get up there."

Hamilton may gain some inspiration from the example set last year by Dutchman Max Verstappen, who started ninth on the grid in his Red Bull, but climbed to finish second courtesy of a well-crafted one-stop strategy.

Hamilton will start Sunday's race on super-soft tyres - the only driver in the top ten to do so - in the hope that he can repeat the teenager's example.

"It was pretty straightforward session, there were no real issues, the car was good," he said.

"I just didn't hook it up when we got to Q3, but Q1 and Q2 were good, Q3 was just so-so."

He played down the potential of his tyre choice.

"I don't think it'll make a big difference, it's a slower tyre," he said.

"I think in the first stint it's just about length," he said.

"But lots of things can happen with safety cars, rain, who knows - so we'll see."