Lewis Hamilton admitted an incorrect engine mode actually helped him repel the challenge of Sebastian Vettel at the safety car restart at Spa-Francorchamps, with the Briton then going on to take victory for the fifty-eighth time in his career.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver was not at full speed heading across the line at the restart, which meant Scuderia Ferrari driver Vettel was too close to him as they approached Eau Rouge, and as a result, it cost the German momentum and ensured Hamilton kept the lead down the Kemmel Straight and into Les Combes.
Hamilton admitted he was worried that the mistake with the engine mode could have cost him victory, but ultimately it turned out perfectly, and he was therefore able to control the rest of the race from the front.
“Initially I got a very good start when we were on the back straight, I got a real good pull away,” said Hamilton. “I was able to catch him out, as I did in Baku on the three or four starts with the safety car.
“I broke away, but didn’t have the right power mode. I pulled away initially, and then he started catching me up, so he went into the last corner.
“Initially it felt like that’s a mistake, but in actual fact it was actually a really good thing, because if I came out of the last corner with that gap, he would have had the momentum, being three or four car lengths behind, to really propel and really get a good tow, and come and slip past me. It worked out perfectly.”