Hamilton: Safety Car didn't decide British GP, could have been tougher on Bottas

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Lewis Hamilton claims the mid-race Safety Car didn't decide the British Grand Prix in his favour.

The Mercedes driver opted for a longer first stint, having shadowed his teammate Valtteri Bottas since the start, and it worked out perfectly for him to pit and emerge ahead when Antonio Giiovinazzi's Alfa Romeo needed recovering from the gravel at Vale.

Once ahead, Hamilton was able to control the pace, opting against following the Finn by stopping again for softs in the final 10 laps, but even if the Safety Car hadn't been called, he was still confident of claiming victory.

“I was going to do a one-stop and Valtteri was on a two so it wouldn’t have made any difference,” he said.

“When he pitted on Lap 16, I think it was, my plan was to offset as much as I could. 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.

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"I would have come out on my fresh hards and I could have just sat behind him if I wanted to and then he would have had to pit," he noted.

“So I would have still had that 21-second gap. So it didn’t really make a difference. Even If I was behind him, I would, of course, try to overtake him, but in hindsight, I didn’t actually need to do that.”

The opening laps saw Hamilton pushing hard to try and pass his teammate on track, even doing so briefly through Brooklands before Bottas responded at Copse.

The championship leader explained, however, that had he not been battling the other Mercedes, that second pass wouldn't have happened.

“We want to race-wheel-to-wheel and tough,” he said.

“When you’re racing with a teammate it’s all different because if I was racing a Ferrari I’d take more risks. Still respectful, but you can lean on them a little bit more.

“As teammates, we sit down at the beginning of a race, we talk about turn one, how we’re going to respect each other and make sure we don’t collide.

“[So] even when I overtook him and he was coming back I could’ve swept across the front and blocked him but that’s not the right thing to do. Ultimately it enabled him to get back past but that’s racing and it was really fair and it was great.”