Spa (Belgium): Lewis Hamilton revealed he backed off in the closing stages of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix after Sebastian Vettel's devastating tyre failure.
Lewis Hamilton. Pic/AFP
Hamilton claimed his sixth victory of the season to extend his lead over Nico Rosberg to 28 points in the championship.
But the 30-year-old said he coasted to the chequered flag after Vettel's blowout on the penultimate lap.
Vettel, who launched a scathing attack on Pirelli - Formula One's sole tyre supplier - after the race, was on course for third but finished outside of the points after his one-stop strategy backfired in the most spectacular of fashions.
"At the end I saw there was a blow-up so I was being very cautious with my tyres," Hamilton, who started from pole here, said.
"I was being very cautious with my tyres. I'd done pretty well up until then so I was just going to make sure I brought it home.
"There was no real need to push any more than I was already. I had a comfortable gap and at the end of the day it doesn't matter if it is won by a tenth or won by 10 seconds."
Hamilton bounced back from his Hungary horror show in emphatic fashion in Formula One's first race back after the summer break.
He saw off the challenge from Force India's Sergio Perez on the long run down to Les Combes on the opening lap, and from there he never looked back.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was the surprise name to join Hamilton and Rosberg, who finished in second, on the podium. The Frenchman was a late beneficiary of Vettel's harrowing tyre failure.
It was the second such incident of the weekend after Rosberg suffered a high-speed tyre blowout on Friday, and Vettel launched a scathing attack on Pirelli after the race.
"Things like that are not allowed to happen, full stop," said Vettel, who had already expressed his concerns to the tyre supplier ahead of Sunday's race.
"If it happens 200 metres earlier, I am not standing here now. I don't know what else needs to happen. It is unacceptable."
Pirelli chief Paul Hembery, who claimed Rosberg's failure on Friday was due to an "external factor", said: "I am not going to criticise Sebastian. It is a hot moment and I don't want to enter into a war of words over that - it is pointless for everybody."
In reference to Vettel's strategy, Hembery added: "We were concerned when we saw the number of laps that were going to be done. Nobody really suggested they were going to do a one-stop race and it was a bit of a surprise - if anything people were talking about doing three stops rather than two."