There were mixed feelings for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team after qualifying in Singapore, where Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore GP in P3 and George Russell in P11 after a challenging wet-dry session.
Lewis qualified half a tenth off pole position but P3 is his best qualifying position of 2022 so far.
George struggled with the brakes in Q2 and, unable to push to the limit, was knocked out.
With limited long run data from Friday, tomorrow’s race strategy is open, with the risk of further unsettled conditions as well.
‘I was pushing so hard and it was incredibly close. It was really difficult to get to a position where we could be fighting for first place and I just didn’t have enough grip on the last lap. Coming here, we didn’t know how close we could be this weekend. We knew we’d be stronger than in Monza, but we didn’t know exactly how much. Nonetheless, I am grateful to be on the second row tomorrow. And I’m thankful to the team for continuing to push. We just keep our head down and hope for a positive day tomorrow.’
‘I was struggling with a brake-related issue, pushing me into the corners. The grip felt good, I just couldn’t get around any corners. I kept understeering off, which is such a shame. I don’t think we’d have been any better in Q3, because of that problem. We’ve seen some indications in the data and I hope we can resolve it until tomorrow. Obviously, it’s disappointing for myself and the whole team as the car was looking strong here. Lewis was really fast, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it work. It’s still an encouraging weekend for us all in all, but obviously, we’re here to score points and ultimately this is a qualifying track. Fortunately, the degradation is looking high and it could be a two stop race tomorrow.’
‘Lewis came close today, being only five hundredths off. Unfortunately, he had a small lock up in Turn 16 and that cost him momentum through the rest of the lap. Even so, he almost took pole, it was a great effort. George had braking issues with his car so, unfortunately, he didn’t have the right equipment to fight for a top position and we need to find out what the cause is. We were hoping that this weekend would go well because our simulations had predicted it and that reflects our growing understanding of the car; generally, it seems that we are heading in the right direction, especially for next year. Hopefully tomorrow, we can fight for the win, but we also need to keep our expectations in check and maximise the opportunities we have in the race.’
‘It was a session that got our hopes up at times, but in the end frustrating to see Lewis miss out on pole by just 0.05s having been quick all evening and George knocked out in the second session, after struggling with a brake issue from the start. We didn’t have a strong final practice and were finding it hard to get the tyres in the window but the changes we made going into qualifying seemed to put us in a decent place and our intermediate pace was strong. The way the track dries here is unusual, the humid conditions and lack of wind make it a rather slow process and that meant it was difficult to predict when we’d get the transition to dry. The longer run on slicks at the end seemed to give a good balance between having the tyres in the right window and time to learn where the grip was; the lap was looking very good but he grabbed a brake at T16 which was enough to be the difference between pole and third place. It’s still a reasonable position to start from and we have a bit more long run work under our belts than the two cars ahead. So we’ll continue to fighting hard for that first win of the season.’