The Mercedes driver won from pole position,
slashing the championship lead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to
The safety car was deployed on the 30th of 44 laps and stayed
out for four while marshals cleared up debris from a collision
between Force India's Sergio Perez and Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
The re-start proved a key moment of the race, with both Hamilton
and Vettel on fresh tyres after pitting but with the German on
the faster ultra-softs that threatened to give him an advantage
over the softs.
"Why's the Safety Car out?" Hamilton asked his team over the
radio. "There literally is no debris.
"That is a BS call from the stewards," he added.
Hamilton managed to hold off Vettel at the re-start, but only
just, and then pulled away with the race settling down as
The Briton told reporters that he had actually benefited from an
error which left him in the wrong power mode, allowing Vettel to
pull level at the first La Source corner but denying the Ferrari
driver a chance to get a subsequent run at him downhill to Eau
Immediately after the race he suggested the safety car
deployment had been a bit "like NASCAR where they keep pulling
out the safety cars for no reason".
"I guess they (the stewards) wanted to see a race, so that's for
sure the reason they did that because there was hardly any
debris," he said.
Hamilton eased off a little on the criticism later.
"At the end of the day it doesn't matter now, but there was
no-one in harm's way on track," he said.
"You could say the marshals had to come on to clean up but they
did it quite quickly.
"Then we did all those laps behind the safety car and it just
opened up doors.
"At the moment I was frustrated. I've led the race and it's been
this close and then we do that stop and I've not got ultra-softs
available to me and it feels a little bit weighed up against
you. But it's cool. I just sucked it up and kept pushing."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)
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