Hamilton: I had the pace to win in Singapore

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Lewis Hamilton believes that he could have won the Singapore Grand Prix had it not been for a failure on his power unit that resigned him to his first retirement of the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Mercedes struggled for pace throughout practice and qualifying at Marina Bay, leaving Hamilton and teammate Nico Rosberg fifth and sixth on the grid for the start.

Although neither driver could make up any positions early on, they managed to jump up one place each thanks to a safety car period which cost the early-stopping Daniil Kvyat time.

Mercedes opted to gamble and fit the prime tire to both cars, leaving the quicker options for the final stint of the race in a reverse strategy to the front-running drivers.

Hamilton managed to stay within sight of the leaders when running fourth at the beginning of his second stint as race leader Sebastian Vettel tried to conserve his tires and bunch the field up. He soon reported a loss of power that eventually resulted in his retirement from the race after 32 laps.

According to Mercedes, “Lewis’ problem was diagnosed as a loss of boost pressure caused by the failure of a clamp between the intercooler and plenum”.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton said that he thought he could have won the race with his strategy given the pace of the cars at the front of the pack.

“The race was going very well. For me it felt like I was driving at my best in the race,” Hamilton said.

“I think I had the pace to win. I did everything. I was on the prime keeping up easily with the guys at the front on the option. My pace was really good when I started to lose power. I felt like the team was working as hard as they could and these kinds of things just happen.

“It’s unfortunate for the team as I was feeling real good out there, so optimistic, but it was better to retire and save the engine. We will work really hard on figuring out what it was but I am not worried about losing this engine.”

Hamilton has now set his sights on bouncing back in next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka and adding to his 41-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

“Our reliability is really high as we had an amazing season so far,” Hamilton said.

“It’s still a long way to go and I know I lost some points today, but I was fast and on form and I will make sure I bring that out to Suzuka to fight back.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III