Lewis Hamilton's power mode error helped him win Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton says selecting the wrong power mode actually helped him stay ahead of 2017 Formula 1 world championship rival Sebastian Vettel at the Belgian Grand Prix safety car restart

That mistake allowed Vettel to be right with him at the La Source hairpin, and that compromised the Ferrari's run to Eau Rouge as Vettel had got too close too soon.

Vettel's failure to pass Hamilton immediately after the restart proved crucial as it was his best chance to deprive the Mercedes of the lead while he had maximum advantage from being on ultra-soft tyres against Hamilton's softs.

"Initially I got a very good start when we were on the back straight, I got a real good pull away," said Hamilton.

"I was able to catch him out, as I did in Baku on the three or four starts with the safety car.

"I broke away, but didn't have the right power mode.

"I pulled away initially, and then he started catching me up.

"Initially it felt like that's a mistake, but in actual fact it was actually a really good thing, because if I came out of the last corner with that gap, he would have had the momentum, being three or four car lengths behind, to really propel and really get a good tow, and come and slip past me.

"It worked out perfectly."

Hamilton even opted not to use full throttle in an attempt to keep Vettel stuck behind his rear wing.

He was also convinced that Vettel would not try to pass too early on the Kemmel straight, because he would fear being repassed before the end of it.

"We got into Turn 1 [La Source], I had very cold tyres, so I had a small lock-up," said Hamilton.

"He was on the gas before me, I could hear him, and then as we were going down that straight I didn't keep it full lit the whole way, I was at 90% throttle, just to keep him as close as possible.

"I knew he wasn't going to come by, because he knows I would overtake him then at the top part with the tow.

"As we were going up Eau Rouge, that's where I really gave it maximum power.

"We got to the top and he had no space to really propel himself, so he just pulled out alongside.

"It was a cool battle, but it was really great to go into Turn 5 [Les Combes] having done just enough to stay ahead. I was really happy with that."

Hamilton said he had to work hard to keep his lead to the finish.

"After that it was like nine or 10 laps or whatever it was of qualifying, heavy, fast laps, to try and continue with that gap," he said.

"He was very quick, he had the better tyre, so I had to pull out some really good laps in order to stay ahead of him, because he was very, very quick in that second phase."

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