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.
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Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.