Hamilton: Rivals are much closer in Singapore

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Lewis Hamilton believes that Mercedes’ rivals are far closer in Singapore than they have been at recent Formula 1 races.

Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 throughout 2015, claiming ten wins in 12 races and scoring pole position for every grand prix this season.

During Friday’s second practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix though, Red Bull and Ferrari both managed to get drivers ahead of Mercedes’ as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg could only finish fourth and seventh respectively.

Speaking after the running at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Friday night, Hamilton was pleased with the work that he and the team had completed on Friday, but felt that the chasing pack had closed up.

“The sessions were good, we got on with our programme,” Hamilton said. “It was very enjoyable and the track is very physical.

“The car feels good but the others are much closer this weekend. It’s always the case here. There are no problems with the car but everyone looks closer, if not a bit faster.

“We’ll still be fighting, we just need to work hard and find out where the time is. Qualifying is very important as overtaking looks very difficult so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

After topping FP1 earlier in the day, Rosberg struggled in the second session after going in the wrong direction with the setup on his Mercedes W06 Hybrid car.

“In the first practice session I felt good in the car,” Rosberg said. “I did some changes with the setup between the sessions, but I went in the wrong direction.

“It was good experience, as I know now what to do for tomorrow. The track is very demanding and tire wear seems to be very high.

“Generally it is great to be back in Singapore as the event is really cool. But to be in the car is horrible, it’s unbelievably hot for us as we have expected.”

Qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 9am ET on Saturday.