Valtteri Bottas says Sebastian Vettel's overtake on him for the lead of the British Grand Prix was just a matter of time due to how quickly his tyres were going off.
Bottas inherited the lead of the race at Silverstone after Mercedes opted to not pit either of its drivers under the Safety Car while race leader Vettel stopped for fresh soft tyres. The Finn put up a stern defence for several laps but he was unable to prevent Vettel from overtaking, and later lost positions to teammate Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.
Reflecting on the final part of the race, Bottas said: "After the first Safety Car restart, I was leading, it was actually quite OK. It was only a couple of laps where he had a proper shot. But then after the second Safety Car, initially it was fine, but he started getting really close and I had to push every lap like a qualifying lap. I think it was about five laps before the end, it was like driving on ice, I started to lose all grip, especially from the rear end.
"The traction was getting weaker. That's why he was getting close to me out of slow-speed corners and getting DRS. I was really trying everything I could to defend, but it was really a matter of time. The same thing for Lewis and for Kimi. We tried, but nothing we could do.''
Like team boss Toto Wolff, Bottas backed the decision to keep him out under the Safety Car as it was the only chance he had of potentially beating Vettel to the win.
"We took the risk to stay out to try and win the race, because on-track it's always more difficult with a similar car. Honestly, at that point when we stayed out, if the team would have asked me if I wanted to try and go for the win or secure second place, for sure I would have gone for the win. But now looking back, for sure, the result would have been better stopping. That's a fact.