Lewis Hamilton has mixed emotions following the first two practice sessions for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix as Mercedes failed to match Red Bull’s pace come the end of the day.
The Briton finished fastest in FP1 ahead of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, but he could not challenge the duo in the second session, finishing over one second behind Vettel’s timesheet-topping time of 1:44.249. However, he is sure that the team can rectify the problems for qualifying on Saturday.
“It wasn’t the perfect Friday for us but we got on with our programme and know where we have to make improvements for tomorrow,” Hamilton said. “The balance of the car felt really good in P1 but it definitely went away from us in P2. There is a lot of work to do this evening but we’re used to that on a Friday night and will just get on with it and focus on our car and performance.”
Hamilton has enjoyed a good run of form in qualifying so far this season, claiming five pole positions for Mercedes during his maiden year with the German marque. He is focused on once again impressing on Saturday in Singapore, believing that good qualifying is key due to the lack of overtaking opportunities around the circuit.
“It’s so difficult to overtake around at this circuit that you want to qualify as high up as possible and, of course, aim for the front row but that will be tough.”
Having won the race in 2009, Hamilton has good memories of racing at Marina Bay, and he will be keen on adding another win to his collection on Sunday in Formula One’s annual night race.
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”