Although Lewis Hamilton admitted he was hoping for a 2018-esque blitz to pole position, the seven-time champion was still relieved to qualify P3 on the grid for the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix – but George Russell was far from happy with his P11 showing…
Hamilton missed out on pole position by 0.054s, as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the fastest time in qualifying ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Given Mercedes’ difficult start to the season, the Briton was delighted with his showing on Saturday.
“It was incredibly close and a really exciting session in general. The car felt a lot better today, we did a lot of great work overnight, back at the factory but also here,” said Hamilton.
“I think at the end it was so difficult to get that lap perfect, and I was hoping for some sort of lap like 2018, but the car definitely doesn’t want to drive like that one. I gave it everything, and to be so close between the top three I think is still great.
“It feels incredibly rewarding,” continued Hamilton, “I think, for everyone in the team. We’ve really started with a real handful, a difficult deck of cards that we created for ourselves, and reshuffling, and lots and lots of work, everyone staying really positive – as positive as possible – and everyone staying really diligent and never giving up.
Lewis Hamilton ‘wasn’t expecting to be fighting for front row’ in Singapore GP qualifying
“It’s been an inspiring year for me, witnessing what my team do, and being a part of that, and yeah, I so badly want to naturally, the will and desire to get a good result for them, to pay them back for all their great work is part of it…
“Let’s hope we can do something in the race tomorrow, it’s very hard to overtake here but maybe we can have a better strategy than these guys,” concluded Hamilton with a wry smile.
George Russell’s brake issue ‘got progressively worse’ in Singapore GP qualifying
Team mate George Russell qualified 11th and, similar to the likes of Esteban Ocon (P18), Russell said brake problems were his undoing under the Lion City’s lights on Saturday.
“I mean, the grip was fine, but we had a problem with the brakes,” explained Russell, “and every time I just went into the corner, it was as if I was just going back on the throttle again, and the car was being pushed forward, so this issue just got progressively worse as the session continued.
“It was there in FP1, but obviously in the dry conditions it was less noticeable and less of a hindrance. Yeah, such a shame, because we’ve had a really strong car this weekend, and I don’t really have a lot more to say, really. Just bitterly disappointed, really.”
Russell added that strategy will be key at Marina Bay, where passing for position is notoriously difficult thanks to the tight confines of the track.
“If it’s going to be a one-stop race it will make things difficult, but from what we saw yesterday it will probably be multiple stops. That will give us the chance to do something different in the midfield but we’re here to fight for the win and we had the fastest car yesterday in the high-fuel running, in the race pace, so yeah, disappointing.”