Mercedes struggling in Singapore

Last year’s polesitter and victor Lewis Hamilton was 1.5 seconds behind this year’s polesitter, Sebastian Vettel, with the Mercedes driver in P5, followed by teammate Rosberg in P6. He was due to do that in Russian Federation previous year but the race came immediately after Jules Bianchi’s ultimately fatal crash in Japan, so he was relieved when the beleaguered team elected to leave the Frenchman’s auto in the garage. Hamilton has won the Singapore Grand Prix twice in 2009 and 2014. For Rosberg, the wish to emulate his father Keke as a world champion this season is now but a hazy dream.


Q: Speaking of challenge: Monza obviously was a flawless weekend for you starting from P1, leading throughout the entire race and winning.

“I am here to win the race… and then the world championship”. “The feeling past year in Singapore was a lot better than now as I had 20 something points the other way”.

Senna (insets) chalked up 41 wins in a career that was tragically cut short when he died aged 34 in a horrific crash at Imola, Italy, in 1994.

It has left Hamilton with a 53-point advantage with seven rounds of the 19-race championship remaining and well set to retain his title and win a third world crown.

The Briton enjoys a strong lead in the Formula One standings and would miss a chance to draw further ahead if organisers took the extreme, and so far unlikely, action of cancelling Sunday’s race.

But, while his title prospects may appear as hazy as the smog that has blanketed Singapore in the build up to Sunday’s race, he has refused to throw in the towel. “With the vehicle that we have it’s possible to win every race weekend if I do a good job, which is a great feeling”.

Achieving it is all that matters, not when I do it. All I’m really thinking is I have seven more races this season to get there.

A street track that winds its way through the heart of Singapore’s business district, the Marina Bay circuit is an unforgiving venue. OPPORTUNITY FOR RED BULL, MCLARENSebastian Vettel is the most successful driver around Singapore, having won the race thrice since it was first held in 2008.

But the Silver Arrows pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were unable to keep pace with the Ferrari and Red Bull teams, who staged their own high-speed battle for pole.

Vettel, a three-times victor in Singapore, posted a best lap of one minute and 45.682 seconds, to see him end the session nearly half-a-second clear of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Fernando Alonso was eighth.


But Hamilton, who was a distant fourth in practice on Friday as his bids to match Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 career victories from 161 starts, was critical of the revamped design.


Bubbly jubbly Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning last year's Singapore Grand Prix