February 24 2018

Lewis Hamilton eyes Singapore 'long game' after Mercedes upstaged

February 24 2018, 05:40 | Sammy Rose

The decision could have implications for Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen

The decision could have implications for Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen

Because Marina Bay is a street circuit, performance will improve throughout the weekend, making the single hour of practice today crucial before qualifying. (Great work!) in Italian.

"I'm still full of adrenaline so maybe whatever I say doesn't make any sense", a breathless Vettel, who let out a loud whoop of joy over the team-radio, said after he stepped out of the auto. It's an fantastic track when you feel the vehicle was coming together.

Vettel was 11th in Friday's second free practice session, and he took a chunk out of one of the circuit's walls in the final pre-qualifying run-out on Saturday.

The overnight transformation worked wonders. After working on the car's handling overnight he was back up to second in final practice.

"It's special the amount of effort that was put in", said Vettel, who also praised those who toiled on site.

"For my part I know I have to perform but it's always been like that in my career".

Mercedes will be the ones having a sleepless night this time.

Lewis Hamilton struggled to finish in the top four and was only able to place himself as high as fifth place, despite the extra power mode advantage.

Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth for Ferrari splitting the Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon who enjoyed another positive session.

Sebastian Vettel delivered a stunning lap to bag himself an all-important pole position for the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, while points leader Lewis Hamilton qualified down the grid in. Vettel will expect to be able to exploit it on Sunday.

"The drivers extracted everything there was from the vehicle - we've been quickest in every single session this weekend, and then the one that really counts. we just don't have that last little bit", he reflected.

Despite winning two of the last three Singapore GPs, Mercedes' dominance of F1 in recent seasons has never transferred to the same extent at the night race and the superior pace of their two chief rivals so far this year has left them with a big challenge to overcome.

However each time he had been out-paced by a Red Bull, leaving him unsure if he had the raw pace to really compete for pole in qualifying.

The Australian's 1:40.852 time was not only a lap record but 0.5s faster than team-mate Max Verstappen, who hit the barriers while attempting to close the gap.

"I will think what is the best option", the 36-year-old double champion said. I thought Red Bull would be as quick as they were.

And when his colleague Sebastian Vettel followed him, it was to set a new lap record.

No wonder the mood in the Mercedes garage was glum.

Red Bull have won the race three times, Ferrari and Mercedes twice each.

But not to this extent.

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