Hamilton: Don't rule me out yet

Andover Advertiser: Lewis Hamilton will have his work cut out in Austria (AP) Lewis Hamilton will have his work cut out in Austria (AP)

Lewis Hamilton has warned sceptics to write him off at their peril ahead of Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix after another mistake-riddled qualifying session.

After making errors that cost him pole position in Canada a fortnight ago, Hamilton promised he would be more focused for Austria's return to the Formula One calendar following an 11-year absence.

But on his first hot lap in the final part of qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, and with pole position seemingly in his pocket as he was fastest in the first two sectors, the 29-year-old erred heading into the turn eight right-hander.

On his second attempt, and again after posting a superb first sector, Hamilton locked up the brakes on his Mercedes and spun at turn two.

It left the Briton without a time and he will now start ninth behind a shock all-Williams front row spearheaded by Felipe Massa, with team-mate and championship rival Nico Rosberg third on the grid.

"What happened hurts a little bit in the gut, but I'll try and make up for it tomorrow," said Hamilton.

"Even if I were starting last I'll always go for the win, although it obviously gets harder and harder the further back you go.

"But I've a chance to come through the field, and I'm excited for it.

"Starting from pole is always a good thing, it makes things easier, looking after your tyres, all those different things.

"But then being able to use your abilities to fight your way through is a cool experience as well.

"I don't know how it's going to go, but I'm going to give it absolutely everything to get as many points as possible.

"Obviously I didn't get any in the last race, and I didn't help myself here, but there's a long way to go so don't rule me out yet."

With a 22-point gap now to Rosberg in the drivers' standings after a brake failure in Canada forced him into retirement, it was suggested to Hamilton he was now a man under pressure and trying too hard.

But the Briton replied: "I don't think that. My laps have been pretty good all weekend, and I was going for pole. I'm there to be first, nowhere else.

"I knew I had extra time in my pocket, I pulled it out in my first lap, but didn't finish, and the second time round, yeah, I was taking the car into unknown territories.

"Tomorrow I'm going to try to stay out of trouble with all the cars around me where I am, and just take my time, although it's not going to be easy as I've very quick cars in front of me."

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