Friday, 22 September, 2017

F1: Hamilton takes the lead with Monza win

Red Bull Renault 2018 Formula One Tag Heuer Mercedes Red Bull won four successive drivers’ and constructors’ titles between 2010-13
Garry Little | 16 September, 2017, 00:47

And not, it seems, even the world champions themselves. "I think we can still improve it, but still with the package we have it is pretty good".

But it will not be easy to conquer the tight and twisty circuit, which is also one of the most humid tracks, with drivers required to perform an average of 4,800 gear changes (compared to 2,000 for Silverstone and 3,100 for Sepang) while losing 4kg of sweat during the race.

Bottas payback for Mercedes in Singapore?

The Singapore Grand Prix takes place this weekend at Marina Bay Circuit, with the race proper on Sunday at 1pm. He told Autosport: "I still believe there are certain characteristics of the tracks that suit the auto or not, and you can see this year the slow, twisty circuits have rather suited Red Bull and Ferrari".

Even if we were quickest this morning, I was still wanting more from the vehicle and we found another step. "Sometimes, characteristics like this are simply in the DNA of a auto". Can Mercedes hold off Ferrari charge? If Mercedes are themselves powerless against the Italian might of Ferrari this weekend, it is just possible that Red Bull could put a major dampener on red hopes of putting a stranglehold on the Formula 1 season.

However, Vettel, who is the most successful F1 driver at the Singapore GP with four wins, insists it will still be a close fight for the top of the podium, and refused to rule Mercedes out of the running for the chequered flag.

Has Singapore always been bad for Mercedes?

Hamilton, meanwhile, perhaps understandably dropped off in his rookie season in 2007, struggled in 2011 and 2012 and was overtaken by Nico Rosberg in the standings a year ago.

Then there was 2015.

In the session the last 90 minutes, Ricciardo registered the fastest lap (1:42.489) during his second flying lap on his second set of ultra-soft tyres. Race day was little better as one vehicle finished fourth while the other retired.

"Since 2014 I felt if I was in a Mercedes I believed I could have won and a year ago as well".

For Red Bull, it is one of the best chances to secure a race win after Daniel Ricciardo emerged out as the surprising victor of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"But notwithstanding that success, this is a circuit we have found hard to master with its combination of short, sharp corners, relatively short straights and bumpy surface. Clearly, we are not where we want to be so there's still a lot of work ahead of us".

Can Mercedes win this year?

It has been non-stop for Hamilton since his win at Monza took him three points clear of Vettel in the race for this year's title.

With qualifying being critical for a good race in Singapore - seven of the last eight grands prix were won by the pole sitter - Hamilton is fully aware of the need to add to his 69 poles.

The next grand prix is in Singapore.

Watch the final races of the 2017 season, all live on Sky Sports F1.

The forecast is the temperature will ascend up to 30 degrees [86F] on Sunday night, while the humidity could reach 86%.

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