Lewis Hamilton says he was “a little bit nervous” he would suffer a repeat of his late tyre failure at Silverstone during the closing stages of Formula 1’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton cruised to his fifth win of the opening seven races as he converted pole position into victory at Spa-Francorchamps to led home another Mercedes 1-2 ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Having switched onto the Hard compound after just 11 laps when the majority of the field pitted under the Safety Car, both Mercedes drivers were forced to manage their tyres in the final laps in Belgium.

But there was no repeat of its dramatic double tyre blow-outs from the British Grand Prix as Hamilton sealed what turned out to be a comfortable win.

“It wasn’t the easiest of races,” Hamilton said. “I had a lock up into Turn 5, which started to give a bit of a vibration, and then one into the last corner.

“The tyre temperatures were slowly dropping no matter how much you were pushing. As you lose rubber you start to lose temperature in the tyres so it was a bit of a struggle.

“Nonetheless I think it was OK. I was a little bit nervous that we were going to have a scenario like Silverstone with the left-front towards the end, so I was nursing it.

“It looked as though there was plenty of rubber on it, so maybe it was fine. Guess I worried for nothing.”

Hamilton’s only real challenge came at the start but the Briton was able to fend off an attack from Bottas on the run up Eau Rouge and onto the Kemmel Straight.

Reflecting on the start, Hamilton said: “That start is a nightmare because it’s one of the shortest runs to Turn 1 and you saw out of Turn 1 I had a big snap getting on the gas trying to build the gap.

“Even if I didn’t have that, I would have maybe had a car length but he would have eaten that up the straight. It worked to my benefit, that snap, because it meant he was right up my chuff and I’m sure he had to lift.

“That meant when we got to the top of the hill he didn’t have enough time to slingshot.”

Hamilton acknowledged the 89th win of his career would not have gone down well among many F1 fans who are getting turned off amid a dominant start to the season for Mercedes.

“I know it’s not always what everyone wants, to see Mercedes at the front but no matter how much success we have we just keep our heads down,” he admitted.

“When I go back into the office now, there’s no guys celebrating. They are like ‘how can we win the next race?’ It’s an incredible environment and mentality to work around.

“We are continuing to learn about ourselves and the car to improve weekend-in, weekend-out. It’s crazy to think I’m 35 going on 36 but I’m feeling better than ever. That’s a positive.”

 

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