Bottas not planning to slow pack to aid Hamilton fightback in Austria

Mercedes AMG Motorsport

Austrian Grand Prix pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas has no plans to slow the pack in order to aid Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton’s fightback from P8 on the grid and aid his Formula 1 title bid, instead preferring to focus on his own race.

Bottas swept to his second F1 pole in Saturday’s qualifying session at the Red Bull Ring, edging out Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the final Q3 shootout.

Hamilton qualified third before being hit with a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change earlier in the weekend, dropping him to eighth for the start.

With Vettel leading Hamilton by 14 points in the championship, Bottas was asked on Saturday if he would look to aid his teammate’s title bid by bunching the pack during the race.

“Well, what I’ve seen on the pre-race strategy notes, that kind of plan is not on those notes. We need to focus on having a good start of the race and we need to win the race,” Bottas said.

“For sure Lewis can fight back from where he’s starting. If you start playing games like that here it’s quite tricky.

“If the car behind gets within the DRS zones and gets a good slipstream, it only needs one mistake and you can lose the win.

“So not planning on that at the moment.”

“It makes no sense for Valtteri to slow down. That will not be the case,” Hamilton added.

“It makes sense for him to push as hard as he can to win the race.”

The Austrian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET on Sunday.