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Hamilton shocked by McLaren pace: The win is out of the question

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was stunned by the straightline speed of McLaren, and admitted that Red Bull are even further ahead this weekend than last.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton has ruled out his chances of victory in Austria, having missed out on a front row start. The reigning Champion lines up in fourth place for Sunday's race, behind pole sitter Max Verstappen, McLaren's Lando Norris and Red Bull's Sergio Perez. Having managed to remain reasonably close to a dominant Verstappen last weekend, Hamilton said that this weekend is going from bad to worse due to Norris and Perez getting ahead of him on the grid. "Even more of a challenge than it was already last week and we continue to lack pace," Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. "We tried everything to get more out of the car and it's just the underlying pace. That is where we're at the moment. So we've got to really find performance in the following races. I don't know if McLaren have got an upgrade but they're mega quick today, so great job from Lando and we've just got to try and improve." Asked whether the win is now out of the question, Hamilton admitted that all the signs are there for Verstappen to cruise to the win. "I would say so yeah, in terms of pure pace it's definitely out of the question," he said. "Those guys firstly, I've got two cars to get by in front, and they've [Red Bull] got three tenths on us. I think they've improved that car again this weekend so I would say that that's an easy cruise win for Max. "I think for us is to try and see if we can get ahead of, at least Perez, and try to limit the damage this weekend." Speaking to Ziggo Sport, Hamilton said he was shocked by the speed of McLaren as Lando Norris joined in the fight for pole position. "McLaren was definitely a surprise to see them so fast, they're incredibly fast in a straight line so it's clear it's not just... I think the engine must be fine for them. We've just got too much drag so got to improve."

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