Hamilton: No need for safety car

28/08/2017
NEWS STORY

The incident that ruined Force India's day almost proved costly for Lewis Hamilton also, as the deployment of the safety car to remove debris following the clash almost allowed title rival Sebastian Vettel to take advantage.

No sooner had the safety car been deployed than the Briton was questioning the move over his radio.

Told that the move was due to debris, he snapped: "there’s no debris anywhere", subsequently adding that it was a "BS call from the stewards".

Speaking after the race, having managed to fend off Vettel, he was still puzzled by the decision.

"I felt it was a bit like NASCAR, where they keep pulling out the safety cars for no reason," he told reporters. The wing was cleared, after we'd slowed down, they could have done a VSC but I guess they wanted to see a race, so that's for sure the reason they did that, because there was hardly any debris, if at all, they cleaned it so well."

Vettel admits that the deployment gave him a second chance in a race in which he was not making much of an impression on the Mercedes.

"Obviously it was difficult to follow super close and get in range and really try and create something so - I don't know, the gap to the car behind with Valtteri was around five/six seconds, growing, especially at the end of the stints where I think Lewis and myself had better pace than the rest.

"There were 14 laps to go, something like that, 15 laps to go so probably would have finished the race like that. It wouldn't have made a difference, at least to us but for sure with the safety car then, yeah, I smelled a chance. Unfortunately it didn't turn out to be a great chance I was not entirely happy with the way I executed but that's how it went."

The re-start saw the German mount his challenge, and though he drew alongside the Mercedes as the pair headed up the hill to Les Combes, the German power unit had that all-important extra grunt.

"Exiting Turn One, I was all over Lewis," he said. "It was not that hard to follow so close and maybe that was the problem. My restart in the initial part was too good. I was too close, so yeah, for sure if I had to do it again maybe I would try something different but at the time I... we know that they have very good straight line speed in their quali mode and at the start of the race I obviously felt how strong they were up the hill on the start, so I did not want to be too far either.

"Lewis also lifted a bit down to Eau Rouge, which I think he could afford because he knows he has a very good top end at the top of it. But yeah, I think overall it was a very good race. It was good fun."

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Published: 28/08/2017
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