Lewis Hamilton hopes Mercedes can break free from its rivals in Austria this weekend, thanks to a significant upgrade of its W09 Silver Arrows.

The four-time world champion, who won last time out and France and currently leads the drivers’ standings by 14 points from arch-rival Sebastian Vettel, was still in the process of learning more about the updates implemented on his car, but still expressed his excitement about the improvements in store.

“Ultimately in the season the development race is always tight,” he said on Thursday at the Red Bull Ring.

“I think up until now we’ve not really had a lot of development parts on the car, so it’s great to see.

“I’m aware that the guys have been working increasingly harder and harder to try and make sure that we bring quality rather than quantity, so it’s great to see some new bits here this weekend.

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“It undoubtedly will help us in our battle to frighten the other guys,” he added.

“I’m excited because when you bolt something to the car, which we haven’t really bolted to the car this year, it’s one of the first real, serious upgrades.

“It’s great when you get out there, because you feel the first couple of points [of downforce] straight away in a certain corner, you feel those improvements.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing it tomorrow, and trying to figure out where those improvements are on the circuit.

“I’ve not really looked at the pieces, and only got told about it this morning, really.

“I think they mentioned it to me ages ago, but I don’t really think about that stuff, I only think about how I can get the car in the right ballpark so I do what I do. But hopefully that will help me do it more.”

A faster, better W09 won’t necessarily mean a comfortable performance margin for Mercedes over its rivals at Spielberg as Hamilton knows the latter will have also improved their cars.

“Everyone’s got some sort of upgrades, I anticipate it being one of the closest qualifying sessions that we’ve probably had this season,” he said.

“That’s my feeling, but I might be wrong. I hope I am, I hope that we qualify one-two with a better gap than that. But I also hope that it is close, and it’s about those fine tenths of a second.”

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