Lewis Hamilton handed five-place grid penalty for Austrian GP

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Formula One title contender Lewis Hamilton will have a five-place grid penalty for Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix after his vehicle required an unscheduled gearbox change, Mercedes said on Friday.

Having lost victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix due to an issue with his headrest, Hamilton continued his impressive form from that weekend to go top on a 1:05.975.

Lewis Hamilton praised his Mercedes team and the speed of his updated auto Friday after dominating both practice sessions for the Austrian Grand Prix with record-breaking times.

The Austrian Grand Prix takes place Sunday at 8AM ET from Red Bull Ring. The Mercedes driver's fastest lap was posted on the soft compound, despite an earlier lap on the ultrasoft, and left him 0.190s clear of Max Verstappen in the Red Bull.

"There's already a nice balance", Hamilton said. "But we'll see, today is Friday, it's hard to judge, the auto feels really good all around the lap". "I lost three or four tenths in the last sector, so the auto felt definitively quick".

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas came third in the time sheet, 0.370 seconds adrift from the British driver, who won the 2016 race.

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The Spielberg track, nestled amid rolling hills and forests under the imposing Styrian Alps, was slippery and caused problems on turns one, six and seven.

He and Hamilton traded fastest laps before Hamilton and Vettel both failed to convert session-best individual sectors into an overall improvement while trying to match Bottas's new best of 1m05.700s.

Verstappen, fourth fastest in P2, said his tyres were "all over the place" in the afternoon.

Vettel expects Ferrari to be closer to the front this weekend but still believes Mercedes to hold an advantage.

That was a significant blow because Vettel had been given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for risky driving after deliberately hitting Hamilton's auto.

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