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Published: 09:20 | 17/7/17

Hamilton expects F1 title to go "down to the wire"

British GP winner Lewis Hamilton expects this season's title race with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel to "go down to the wire".

The Briton won the British GP for a fourth successive year on Sunday to cut Vettel's lead in the drivers' championship to just one point.

The German finished seventh, after experiencing a front-left tyre puncture when running third with two laps to go.

However, Hamilton, whose victory levels the all-time record of five British GP wins set by Scotland's Jim Clark and France's Alain Prost, insists that the victory is not "a turning point" in the title race.

"Ultimately, there's constantly turns and the pendulum goes back and forth," the Mercedes driver said.

"Obviously the pendulum swung a little bit this weekend and I think that's only good for F1. It's only good for the fans, probably super-exciting for them to see the close battle that we're continuing to have.

"Without a doubt we hope it stays the way it's swung this time, but we're just hoping we can be on our toes to react to whatever is thrown at us in the next races.

"But it's going to be a close race. It's going right down to the wire, clearly."

Hamilton admits he cut down his own pace after seeing Vettel's misfortune, fearing his Mercedes would also suffer a puncture.

"The team said generally it wouldn't be a problem but [blistering] did appear [on his front right tyre]," Hamilton told Autosport.

"Then I heard about the blow-ups and I backed off. I went basically to half or 60% throttle everywhere, so I was really slow the last two laps.

"I was basically three, four seconds off the pace. I just wanted to bring it home."

Vettel insists there is no need for Ferrari to panic, despite Mercedes' noticeable upturn in speed over the past few weeks.

Mercedes have won three of the last four grands prix and should have won in Baku as well, had it not been for Hamilton's headrest problem.

"There is no reason to panic or worry, but for sure we need to be aware that Mercedes are very quick," four-time world champion Vettel, 30, said. 

"There are plenty of positives. For sure, you look after every race where you are. This race was not good for us. Full stop. We did not get the result we wanted or that we probably deserved, but that is how it is. We cope with that and we move on."

Image: Getty Images/Clive Mason

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