Lewis Hamilton says Charles Leclerc was “very respectful”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton explains how him and Charles Leclerc managed to avoid a collision at the same corner where he collided with Max Versappen earlier in the race.

Lewis Hamilton’s start to the British Grand Prix could have been a disaster, after him and Max Verstappen collided in the opening lap of the race.

However, while Max went into the barrier and out of the race, Lewis managed to come out of it relatively unscathed. He did however receive a 10-second penalty.

Nevertheless he managed to fight on and win the race by overtaking Charles Leclerc in its closing stages. The Briton describes the hunt that led up to the overtake.

“He did such a fantastic job today,” Hamilton said.

“I honestly didn’t know at the beginning that we would be able to beat him. I thought I had good pace initially on the mediums but then Charles just started opening up the gap and putting in some fantastic laps.

“I could see that he wasn’t really managing so I was like ‘Jeez, he’s surely going to blister at some stage’, but he said they don’t blister so…

“For us, I started struggling with our front tyres. I knocked out the left front, it was completely empty, so I had to pit. Obviously with that pit…

“I hadn’t even considered at the time I was chasing him, I hadn’t considered the 10-second penalty. If anything I actually thought that 10 seconds would be added on at the end of the race.

“I didn’t realise it would be a stop and go 10-second penalty. That felt like eternity sitting there for those 10 seconds.

“And then coming out, honestly Charles wasn’t on my mind when I came out, it was really trying to see if I could catch the car ahead, just one by one.

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“And obviously I got the McLaren, I was chasing down Valtteri and he was so gracious today to work so well as a team-mate to allow me to pass, so I could chase for the win for the team. That’s great sportsmanship, I really do appreciate it.

“And yeah, then I saw myself catching him but I was thinking ‘by the time I get to him my tyres would be finished at this pace’.

“But then I saw the backmarkers and I realised that might create some opportunities, so I was like ‘I’ve got to catch him as soon as possible’ so that when I did catch him there would be opportunities to fight.

“Then my heart nearly stopped when I went up the inside of you in Turn 9, because I though the same thing was going to happen that happened to me and Max. I had to change my boxers after.”

Hamilton overtook Leclerc at the Copse corner, the same corner where him and Verstappen collided earlier. The Briton was asked how did he decide to go for it, despite what happened.

“Well, firstly I think as Charles was saying, he was very respectful in terms of leaving a gap.

“I got relatively… somewhere alongside him so he knew that I was there but he stayed committed and just did a wider line and he nearly kept it and that was really great racing.

“I think for me in that moment, I backed out at one point just to make sure that we didn’t come together, but I think it was just a really nice balance and I think that’s really how the racing should go and close.

“In a perfect world, that’s what would have happened in the first attempt but different time, different place, different driver,” concluded the seven-time champion.

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