Singapore GP: Qualifying team notes - Mercedes


Lewis claimed his sixth front row start in Singapore in P2. Valtteri will start the Singapore GP from P5.

Both drivers set their best Q2 times on the Soft tyre and will start Sunday's race on this tyre.

Lewis Hamilton: I don't think we were expecting the Ferraris to be so quick today, they've clearly made some improvements to their car and it's working really well, so fair play to them. We had a deficit after the first run in Q3 and I was sitting in the garage thinking "Oh my God, it's a second - where am I going to find a second?" But all you can do is tighten your seat belt and launch the car through those corners, and I managed to improve by about second. I gave it everything I had tonight, but I couldn't find any more time. Nonetheless I'm really glad to be on the front row and I hope that I can fight tomorrow with the Ferraris - it's going to be a tough one, but not impossible.

Valtteri Bottas: This is a disappointing result because I think we had the possibility to achieve more today. I felt much more comfortable in the car in qualifying than I did in any other session of the weekend. I was actually pretty happy after Q1, thinking that we might be able to fight for a spot on the front row today. But the Ferraris just kept getting quicker and quicker, they kept improving their times and ultimately we just couldn't match them. Unfortunately, Q3 was pretty messy for me; I never managed to get the ideal tyre preparation because I was stuck in traffic on both of my out-laps, which compromised my timed laps. Tomorrow will be tricky, starting fifth is far from ideal, but we'll go into the race with a fighting spirit. There's usually a lot of action in Singapore, so we will see if there are any opportunities and try and make the best of it.

Toto Wolff: That was a tricky qualifying session for us. We needed to get every detail right between the out-laps, the tyre warm-up and track position, and we didn't quite manage that when it counted today. Likewise, Ferrari were very strong: as usual, they were gaining time on us along the straights, but they were also very competitive through the corners all the way through the lap. We have Lewis on the front row and Valtteri back in fifth: our car is strong in race trim and although overtaking is difficult here, this is a very long race where much can happen and keeping the tyres in good shape will be key. We will be targeting strong starts and aiming to move forward from there with both cars.

Andrew Shovlin: We could have done a better job of giving our drivers good out-laps. We seemed to need a faster lap than the others to bring the tyres in but as soon as we left the garage we'd have a group of cars roll out in front of us and end up starting the lap with tyres that were out of the temperature window. We decided to go late for the final run in Q3 which risked us getting caught out with a yellow flag but even then we had another car leave just ahead. We'll have a look at how we could have handled it more effectively as both cars could have found more time today, especially Valtteri who had a really strong start to the sessions but didn't get good track position for any of his last three runs. The pace of the others is a bit of a surprise; Ferrari a bit quicker than we expected and Red Bull a bit slower. We have to assume Ferrari have solved some of the issues they have had in cornering this year as you can't get pole here otherwise. However, we looked pretty good on the long runs yesterday and our car seems to be kind on the tyres. There's always opportunity here as the race is so unpredictable with incidents and safety cars. It's difficult to manage as you need to balance the requirement to build a gap with the need to keep the tyres in good shape for restarts. Hopefully that will create a bit of opportunity for us tomorrow as we'd like to leave here with more than a second and fifth place.

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Published: 21/09/2019
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