Singapore GP: Practice team notes - Mercedes


Lewis finished FP1 in P6 with Valtteri in P8. Lewis ended the day in P2 just .011 seconds shy of P1 with Valtteri in P5. Today's programme focused on understanding qualifying and race performance of different tyre compounds at the Marina Bay Street Circuit. The team also worked on confirming front and rear tyre temperature expectations.

Lewis Hamilton: The first session of the day was good, even though it might not show on the timesheets as we didn't use the HyperSoft tyres. We got through our programme, tried some different options and got some good results from it. We were close to the Ferraris, but we will only find out tomorrow how quick they really are. The guys have been working so hard both here at the track and back at the factory to improve the car and it is definitely feeling better than it did in the past. The track is incredible; we're a lot quicker than we were last year, but that also makes the lap so much harder than it was even last year because the G forces have gone up, we need to react quicker and it is crazy hot in the cockpit. You're sweating even before you get into the car; in the second session, I think I lost almost two kilos, so I will lose even more on Sunday. We will see how it goes tomorrow, but it's looking like it might be a three-way fight between Ferrari, Red Bull and us.

Valtteri Bottas: It's been a very hot day and overall a quite positive day. In FP1, we ran in the end on the Soft tyres when others were using the HyperSofts or UltraSofts and we knew how much we'd improve on the other compounds. So FP1 already looked a bit better than last year. In FP2, both Ferrari and Red Bull looked very quick, but we were not far off. The car has been improved massively in the high-downforce trim. It is much quicker, even compared to the beginning of the season. The fast cars also make it more challenging - the quicker you go, the more G forces you have to pull. It's especially tough around this track as it is so hot - it's a bit like doing exercise in a cockpit that's 60 degrees hot. We made big changes from FP1 to FP2, not all of which were positive, so we'll work on this overnight. It's extremely difficult to get the balance perfectly right on this circuit, there's such a wide range of corners, so we have a lot of work to do. I think we have a lot of possibilities for a good result this weekend, but we need to get the car absolutely right to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull. I didn't get a really good lap together, but it seemed like the pace was there, so hopefully it's going to be a really close qualifying tomorrow.

James Allison: With the exception of losing an UltraSoft tyre set with Lewis this afternoon through a lock up, we enjoyed a pretty reasonable day. Both cars had too much understeer in the first session, which we were able to dial out during the break, and we got the car pretty happy for a single lap in the second session; likewise, the long-run pace seems to be in the mix. There is still more work to do: we want to cure some nervousness under braking and Valtteri's balance wasn't quite right in his long runs. But if we compare the situation to what we experienced last year, then today's running makes us more confident that we are in the hunt this weekend.

Check out our Friday gallery from Singapore, here.

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Published: 14/09/2018
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