Rosberg downbeat despite gaining on Hamilton in Singapore

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Nico Rosberg may have cut 12 points out of Lewis Hamilton’s lead at the top of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, but the German driver was more concerned by Mercedes’ lack of pace at Marina Bay.

Throughout practice and qualifying in Singapore, Mercedes failed to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull for pace at the front of the field, leaving Hamilton and Rosberg fifth and sixth for the start of the race on Sunday.

Hamilton was forced to retire after 32 laps thanks to an issue on his power unit, giving Rosberg the chance to capitalize and carve into his 53-point lead in the championship.

Mercedes had hoped to make up for its lack of pace by putting Rosberg on an alternative strategy to the front-runners, but the German was forced to follow their lead by making an early second pit stop under a safety car caused by an intruder on the track.

Speaking after the race, Rosberg said that he hoped Mercedes’ struggles were a one-off and not a sign of things to come for the remainder of the season.

“Singapore was a disappointing weekend for my team,” Rosberg said. “We were far off the pace the whole weekend and Lewis’ car had to retire.

“I really hope that these were unique circumstances and our car didn’t suit the track and conditions. The problem is that we don’t really understand why Red Bull and Ferrari were so much quicker here.

“The start of the race was a bit chaotic. In the installation laps my engine went off a few times, so I couldn’t do the same start procedure, which I practised 100 times. I had to adapt but it worked out okay, so I was able to keep the positions.

“P4 was the maximum today, so we have a lot of work to do for Suzuka to understand what went wrong.”