After last weekend’s race at Silverstone, Horner said he thought Mercedes had let Ferrari “off the hook” with their tyre strategy. The Red Bull boss felt the decision to put Hamilton on hards rather than the faster soft compound on lap 33 had cost the seven-time world champion and Mercedes their first shot at victory in 2022.
Hamilton eventually finished third behind race-winner Carlos Sainz and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez following an intense fight to the flag after most of the leading runners pitted for soft tyres during a late Safety Car.
“I was actually surprised that Lewis, with the amount of laps to go, and the degradation that he’s shown, didn’t take a soft,” said Horner.
“He went onto the hard tyre on lap 33 and I actually thought he was going to go on to the soft, because that would have made it much easier for him to make the offset in grip.
“It felt like they [Ferrari] have maybe been let off the hook there.”
But Hamilton dismissed Horner’s claim and believes Mercedes ultimately made the right calls given the circumstances at the time.
“I don’t really care! I don’t pay much attention to what is said by that guy,” Hamilton laughed when asked what he made of Horner questioning Mercedes’ strategy.
“From our knowledge, from what I was told, from our experience, the tyres were not going to go the distance. They were definitely quicker for the first part but there was huge degradation on other cars that we had seen.
“Did we get it perfect? Who knows. But I think we made the right decision.”
Hamilton added: “No one else could do the stint length that I did on the medium. I don’t know if anyone did that length and had that performance and pace at the end on that tyre.
“The question is: could I have kept going and then shortened my soft tyre run? But in hindsight it’s always positive.”
Hamilton sure Mercedes can win a race in 2022
Hamilton said Mercedes can take encouragement from their performance at the British Grand Prix and is confident the team will be able to compete for victories on merit at some stage this season after making improvements with their W13.
“It was really positive for us as a team to start to see a little bit of consistency, particularly on my side, and to see us making progress,” said the seven-time world champion.
“A long way back, earlier this year, I definitely wasn’t sure that we’d get a win in this car.
“That was definitely not the way we like to think but it was that feeling that ‘Jesus, there’s a long, long way to catch everyone up’. But definitely hugely encouraging.
“For a long, long time, we would make changes and not see it do what it says it was going to do and improve the car. It was a good step in Barcelona but then we had several difficult races following it.
“Then we just had these last two races which were quite strong and that’s really encouraging us in the right direction and that there really is potential in the car.
“With a little bit more digging and a little more hard work, hopefully we can get closer to winning a race, so I truly believe we can win a race win this year.”