Lewis Hamilton issued a blunt dismissal of a claim from Christian Horner the Mercedes botched their British Grand Prix strategy.
Hamilton enjoyed one of his strongest results of the year, delighting the Silverstone crowd with a third-place finish while being one of the fastest drivers on the track.
That came after an intense dogfight with Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc as they all fought desperately for a spot on the podium.
But Red Bull chief Horner said afterwards it could have been even better for him. “I was actually surprised that Lewis,
with the amount of laps to go, and the degradation that he’s shown, didn’t take a soft,” he told Sky Sports F1 when analysing the Silver Arrows’ tyre strategy.
“He went onto the hard tyre on lap 33 and I actually thought he was going to go on to the soft, because that would have made it much easier for him to make the offset in grip.
It felt like they [Ferrari] have maybe been let off the hook there.” Hamilton was asked to respond during a press conference ahead of this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix,
and was pretty blunt as he assessed the worth of Horner’s opinion. “I don’t really care! I don’t pay much attention to what is said by that guy,” he told reporters.
“From our knowledge, from what I was told, from our experience, the tyres were not going to go the distance.
They were definitely quicker for the first part but there was huge degradation on other cars that we had seen. Did we get it perfect? Who knows. But I think we made the right decision.
“No-one else could do the stint length that I did on the medium. I don’t know if anyone did that length and had that performance and pace at the end on that tyre.
The question is, could I have kept going and then shortened my soft tyre run? But in hindsight it’s always positive.”
Mercedes have endured a difficult season so far, and generally have been some way off their Red Bull and Ferrari rivals in terms of car performance.
But Hamilton went on to suggest there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, after back-to-back podium finishes.
“It was really positive for us as a team to start to see a little bit of consistency, particularly on my side, and to see us making progress,” the seven-time world champion added.
“A long way back, earlier this year, I definitely wasn’t sure that we’d get a win in this car.
“That was definitely not the way we like to think but it was that feeling that ‘Jesus, there’s a long, long way to catch everyone up’.
But definitely hugely encouraging. For a long, long time, we would make changes and not see it do what it says it was going to do and improve the car.
It was a good step in Barcelona but then we had several difficult races following it. “Then we just had these last two races which were quite strong
and that’s really encouraging us in the right direction and that there really is potential in the car.
With a little bit more digging and a little more hard work, hopefully we can get closer to winning a race, so I truly believe we can win a race win this year.”