Hamilton dismisses importance of safety car in beating Bottas at Silverstone
Lewis Hamilton says he would have beaten Valtteri Bottas to victory at the British Grand Prix, regardless of the mid-race safety car which made the ride a little smoother.
Hamilton failed to get the better of polesitter Bottas in a thrilling battle through the opening few laps, but he would not be denied a record-breaking sixth win at his home race.
After Bottas had pitted, committing to a two-stop strategy in the process, Antonio Giovinazzi's spin into the gravel, and the subsequent safety car period, allowed Hamilton to jump in for a hard-tyre switch and to run to the end, safe in the knowledge that his team-mate had to stop twice.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had revealed that Hamilton had been given the option of an offset strategy as he was in second – the same opportunity would have been given to Bottas had the tables been turned.
"Obviously both of them drove a brilliant race, both of them would have deserved to win the race and in that instance the Safety Car swung in favour of one driver," Wolff said.
Hamilton disagreed with his boss's assessment, though, and believed he would have had the pace to hold off a charging Bottas if the Finn's strategy had been executed optimally.
"Did we know that we could do a one-stop with it? Not really," Hamilton said of the hard compound. "But as soon as I got onto it, it was quite strong and didn't look like it was particularly starting to give up any time soon. So I decided to stay out."
He added: "I was going to do a one stop and [Valtteri Bottas] was on a two so it wouldn't have made any difference. The Safety Car wouldn't have made a difference.
"When he pitted on lap 16, I think it was, my plan was to offset as much as I could. And so I think I went four laps or something and I probably could have done another lap or two.
"At the time he was not catching me. He should have been catching me but he was not catching me and I was keeping the gap generally the same.
"I could have just sat behind him if I wanted to and then he would have had to pit. So I would have still had that 21-second gap.
"So it didn't really make a difference. Even I was behind him, I would of course try to overtake him, but in hindsight I didn't actually need to do that."
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