Hamilton boost as Mercedes say exactly what he wants to hear before Singapore GP

Hamilton boost as Mercedes say exactly what he wants to hear before Singapore GP

Mercedes have not won a race this year with Red Bull still on a perfect streak of victories, but Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have reason to hope in Singapore

Mercedes think both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will be able to challenge Red Bull for podiums at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Formula 1’s famous night race is the next stop on the global tour. And, once again, Max Verstappen will be the favourite to win given he is on an unprecedented streak of 10 in a row.

Ferrari tried to end Red Bull’s 100 per cent record this season at their home race. But, even at Monza with the Tifosi roaring on the Italian team, Verstappen simply proved to be too quick.

It may be that the Mercedes drivers are best placed to challenge the Red Bulls on the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has reason to hope that will be the case.

“There is a reason to think that the car will work better and that is because Singapore is a maximum downforce circuit,” he said in a video released by the team. “Our performance at the high downforce tracks like at Barcelona, Budapest and even Zandvoort, the car was working well and we’ve had pretty strong performance.

“We’re hoping to be able to be a bit quicker there and get back to a position where we can challenge for podiums. The track, though, does throw up some pretty unique challenges and we’ve also got some layout changes for this year.

“There is a sequence of four corners near the end of the lap that have been removed where the track used to go underneath a grandstand through a tunnel. That’s now gone so we’ve got a longer straight which will change a little bit how the tyres are working.

“There is a bit less energy there but it’s also an abrasive tarmac. We’ve got the softest three compounds so it’s a pretty tough race on the tyres and it’s also a bumpy street circuit. Added to that, the race is run at night. Plenty of challenges for us to try and tackle then but we are going there optimistic for a strong performance.”

It will be music to Hamilton and Russell’s ears after the Italian Grand Prix, where they finished fifth and sixth with the younger Brit one place ahead. It was a positive result in many ways, given that both were slapped with a penalty in the race and that the two cars ahead of them, the Red Bulls and the Ferraris, were simply faster over the course of the weekend.

But, as team principal Toto Wolff pointed out after the race, this team is not used to being satisfied with those results. The Austrian said: “That was a pretty incident-filled race for us and we maximised the points that were in there today. But, like always, we need to be careful not to be too happy about finishing fifth and sixth.”


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