Saturday 14

Formula 1

Safety car help played down by Hamilton

15th July 2019, 12:45 by Craig Smithson

Lewis Hamilton claims the safety car's presence during the British Grand Prix "made no difference" because he would have won the race.

The 34-year-old claimed a record home race win at Silverstone and picked up an extra point for posting the fastest lap, moving him 39 points clear of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the World Championship standings.

However, as Bottas started the race on pole position, it was suggested the deployment of the safety car on lap 20 following Antonio Giovinazzi's crash effectively handed Hamilton a free pit-stop to remain ahead of his Finnish rival, who had earlier stopped on lap 16.

But the five-time world champion revealed Mercedes' pre-race strategy was for the driver in second place to use hard compound tyres for the second stint of the race.

And while Bottas took a second pit-stop on lap 45, Hamilton managed to progress through 31 laps to the finish on the hard tyres, so he claims the safety car scenario had no bearing on the outcome.

He said: "I was going to do a one-stop and he 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 my plan was to offset as much as I could, so I think I went four laps or something and probably could have done another lap or two.

"At the time he was not catching me, which he should have been, but I was keeping the gap the same. I think he came out of the pits seven-tenths inside my window, so I would have pitted and he would be seven-tenths ahead, then it came to one second, one-and-a-half, and stayed around one-and-a-half to two.

"If I did another lap maybe it would have been two-and-a-half and I would have come out on my fresh hards, and I could have just sat behind him if I wanted to and he would have had to pit, so would still have had that 21-second gap. So it didn't really make a difference."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.

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