Hamilton aims to keep 'chipping away' at F1 leaders after surprise Austria podium

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Lewis Hamilton aimed to keep "chipping away" at the Formula One leaders after continuing his strong form by securing a surprise podium finish at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion took advantage of Carlos Sainz's engine failure to snatch third place at the last in Spielberg, with Mercedes team-mate George Russell following in fourth as Ferrari's Charles Leclerc posted his first victory in seven outings.

The result made it three successive podium finishes for Hamilton as the Silver Arrows continued their recovery from a disappointing start to the 2022 season – caused largely by the porpoising issues affecting their W13 car.

It represented another strong recovery for Hamilton after the 37-year-old crashed out of qualifying on Friday, and he was delighted to see the team slowly closing the gap on F1's leaders.

"I definitely wasn't expecting that, yesterday was a difficult day, and we have had a bit of a rough weekend," Hamilton told Sky Sports.

"As a team we got third and fourth which is great points, and we move forward from here.

"Firstly, I do want to say a really big thank you to the men and women in the garage who worked so hard to rebuild the car.

"I had a brand-new car on Saturday morning, and unfortunately it is something I don't do too often.

"We made some improvements this weekend, so we just have to keep chipping away at it.

"We're slowly eating into the guys ahead, but we have to keep going."

Russell, meanwhile, was hindered by making contact with Red Bull's Sergio Perez early on before making his own impressive recovery, but he urged Mercedes not to get too carried away with their recent improvements.

"As a team we are still further behind than we want," he said.

"The gap is definitely closing, but each time we've brought an update it's been at a circuit that has naturally suited our car, so we don't want to get too carried away."

Hamilton is sixth in the drivers' standings after 11 races of 2022, narrowly behind Russell, though neither has claimed a race win this term.

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