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Hamilton says win down to planning, not luck

Silverstone, Monday @PeopleSport11

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has defended his victory in the British Grand Prix, saying the triumph was down to strategy rather than a favourable Safety Car intervention.

The defending five-time world champion made the most of the Safety Car’s arrival on lap 20 by opting for new ‘hard’ compound tyres that carried him to the end of the race.

In the circumstances, it was effectively a ‘free’ pit stop, which gave him a clear advantage over Mercedes team-mate Valtterri Bottas who led from pole before making the first of his two scheduled stops on lap 16, the team having agreed to split their drivers’ strategies.

“I was going to do a one-stop and he (Bottas) was on a two, so it wouldn’t have made any difference,” said Hamilton, who won his home event for a record sixth time. “The Safety Car wouldn’t have made a difference.”

Hamilton said it was his decision to go for an off set strategy.

“It wasn’t agreed, it was said that we could,” he explained late Sunday evening. “So I looked at the options and, of course, I want to always try and offset.

“So when ‘Bon’o (race engineer Peter Bonnington) came on the radio and said ‘what tyre do you want?’ I said ‘I want the hard’.” Team chief Toto Wolff confirmed the split-strategy decision, but warned the team were now wary of decisions that may reveal an unconscious favouritism for one driver.

“In our strategy meeting in the morning, the drivers brought up whether there was an off-set strategy possible for the guy running second, because if you put them on the same tyre, this is probably how the race is going to end -– turn one or lap one would lock in the result.

“We felt that, picking up on their suggestion, it would provide an interesting race. We knew they would be racing each other, but maybe with a different strategy so that’s what we tried.      -AFP

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