Lewis Hamilton believes there is more potential to extract from the Mercedes package around the streets of Singapore after he followed up his pace-setting FP1 effort with the fifth-fastest time in FP2.
Hamilton edged out Red Bull rival Max Verstappen during first practice at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, as F1 cars tackled the hot and humid venue for the first time since the 2019 season.
However, the second session proved more challenging for the seven-time world champion, as persistent tyre lock-ups and a run-in with traffic left him in P5 – almost six-tenths off Carlos Sainz’s benchmark.
“It started off well. It wasn’t as great in the second session, but [it was] pretty much like every other weekend. The car is as it is, we were bouncing around, but it doesn’t feel like we are massively off here this weekend. We are still probably a second down, I would say – something like that,” said Hamilton.
Asked how much more pace there is to unlock, and how he can do so, Hamilton added: “There’s definitely, on my side, more time [to find] – I just didn’t really get a clear lap. With the set-up I have, I have a lot of [tyre] locking, but we’ll fix it tonight and come back and give it a better try tomorrow.
“I’m hoping we can be P5, P4 – something like that. If we can get any higher, that would be amazing.”
George Russell more ‘on the limit’ than usual during ‘very bumpy’ Friday practice
George Russell was almost three-tenths quicker than team mate Hamilton en route to third place in FP2, though the younger Briton was left to lament a lock-up of his own during his best lap, which he described as “awful” over the radio.
“There’s definitely a lot of work to do. It’s very, very bumpy out there. I think everybody’s struggling to a degree. We’ve always known [that’s] been a bit of a weak point with our car,” Russell reflected.
“I think it’s going to be one of those [weekends] that if we can absolutely nail it, there’ll be a huge amount of lap time we can find come qualifying – and as we know, it’s normally a qualifying race [here]. We’ll stay optimistic and work hard overnight.”
Mercedes entered Singapore 35 points behind Ferrari in the chase for second in the championship, with the Silver Arrows still hunting their first win of 2022.