Lewis Hamilton voiced his frustrations after failing to improve on his decent performance from the previous day after a significant setup change overnight at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that he had opted for a faulty setup the night before in advance of today’s qualifying session for the Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit.
Hamilton was fifth fastest in first practice on Friday, ahead of of teammate George Russell as Mercedes had been looking strong all weekend.
After Friday, he was quite pleased with the setup of his car, but Mercedes decided to try to make a major change for Saturday, which really affected Hamilton’s confidence in the car’s performance.
Hamilton found it difficult to keep up as Russell advanced further in the next session as the seven-time world champion placed fifth once more in FP2 before slipping to sixth in Saturday’s qualifying.
The British driver felt he could have done better despite qualifying fifth behind the two Ferraris, his teammate George Russell, and McLaren’s Lando Norris.
Hamilton placed just eighth in Q2 as Russell persisted applying pressure to Carlos Sainz for the pole position in qualifying. In the final round, he was the last to take to the track, but while Russell finished just 0.072 seconds off the pole, Hamilton was fifth, half a second adrift.
“It is the hardest car that I’ve ever driven to get right,” Hamilton told the media after the end of the session, adding that he had made a set-up change overnight and it didn’t work.
“The car was good yesterday on the long run but I changed the car overnight and now I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow with the car.
“The car was feeling incredible yesterday and we had hoped that with some tweaks, we’d be able to challenge the Ferraris.
“We made some pretty big changes overnight, and it just came away from me again. We didn’t have the speed today.
“It’s obviously disappointing, especially because we clearly had a great package here and George was able to get on the front row.”
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said that it meant Hamilton had been struggling to get the tyres to switch on.
“Lewis wasn’t as happy with the car through the sessions,” Shovlin explained. “Some of that was when the outlaps were compromised with traffic, but even on the final run he didn’t feel that the grip was there.”
Hamilton was happy to see Russell split the Ferraris so he could start tomorrow’s race alongside Sainz albeit he was disappointed not to be higher up the grid.
“I’m really happy for George,” Hamilton congratulated his Mercedes teammate. “I think he did a mega job.
“He’s just been connected with the car all weekend.
“I hope George gets a great start tomorrow and puts some pressure on Ferraris; it would be great for him to get the win.
“I think George has a really good shot at potentially winning. I really hope that he does.
“On my side, I will be pushing to the maximum to go forward and see how the race unfolds in front,” he added. “For me it’s just I’ll see what I can do.
“If I can get further up, then great. Tomorrow is a new day, and there is a lot to fight for.”