Valtteri Bottas says he believed his tyres would maintain their working life until the end of the British Grand Prix and trusted Mercedes’ call to stay out and not pit under the late Safety Car in order to gain track position.

The Finnish driver inherited the lead from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel when the German driver pitted during the late race Safety Car triggered by Marcus Ericsson’s crash.

Bottas, who pitted for fresh medium tyres on lap 21, says Mercedes’ strategy pointed to his tyres being able to last the full 31 laps to the finish and despite a second Safety Car period when Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz Jr clashed at the restart the Finn’s tyres gave up over the five laps of the race.

The Mercedes driver says he had to produce ‘qualifying laps to keep ahead’ of Vettel but the tyre degradation was miscalculated by the team which saw him drop from first to fourth place by the chequered flag.

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“Afterwards, it’s easy to say we should have pitted, to at least keep the position. We took a risk to be first but ended up fourth. Five laps too much,” Bottas said. “It was definitely a possibility to go to the end.

“In practice I didn’t do any long runs with the mediums but from our calculations, it should have been okay. But it wasn’t.

“I was trying everything I could to stay ahead. I had to push qualifying laps to keep ahead. The tyres degrade quicker, I tried my best but it was not enough.”

It marks the end of a frustrating triple-header for Bottas who saw his French Grand Prix wrecked by a first-lap clash with Vettel to finish seventh which was followed by a mechanical retirement last week at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Bottas has moved up to fifth place in the Formula 1 world drivers’ championship at the expense of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

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