March 19, 2018

Formula One issue warning to drivers ahead of Singapore GP

16 September 2017, 12:51 | Ross Houston

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Formula One- F1- Italian Grand Prix 2017

A fortnight on from Lewis Hamilton's dominant win at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, the Briton will look to maintain his slender points advantage in the Drivers' Championship, as the Formula 1 circuit rolls into Singapore for the first of three races in Asia.

Daniel Ricciardo was the man who went fastest in Singapore in both of the Friday sessions.

"I'm sure there is more we have learned to put us in a better position in Singapore", said Hamilton after a victory at Monza which saw him dislodge Vettel from the head of the Drivers' Championship for the first time this season.

The three-time world champion Hamilton, who penned a poetic tribute to mark 20 years since the death of Princess Diana, was also moved to wax lyrical about his performances behind the wheel. Ferrari also clinched 1-2 in Hungary, another track which neutralizes the power of Mercedes.

Reigning world champions Mercedes AMG are certainly not getting their hopes high ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, admitting ahead of the race that it will be "more hard". Separated by only three points, if either Vettel or Hamilton have a slip up, it could prove to be costly.

Stoffel Vandoorne and Alonso ended FP2 sixth and seventh, outperforming both Ferraris and the Mercedes-powered Force India cars. But Sebastian Vettel wouldn't have expected to cross the line over half a minute behind his championship rival, who was cruising for the majority of the 53 laps.

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Even if we were quickest this morning, I was still wanting more from the vehicle and we found another step. He told Autosport: "I still believe there are certain characteristics of the tracks that suit the vehicle or not, and you can see this year the slow, twisty circuits have rather suited Red Bull and Ferrari".

There are few places to overtake in Singapore, but one of those is the blistering run into Turn 7. "They're rapid through the medium and low speed sections of the circuits". With Verstappen and Ricciardo both recently telling ESPN their long-term futures at Red Bull hinge around its ability to deliver a race-winning auto, and with Verstappen growing increasingly frustrated at his remarkable string of bad luck this year, a morale-boosting win for the team would be huge going into the final races of 2017.

But Singapore is probably the track that most closely fits that bill, even if the headline results in that period aren't almost as bad as you might expect.

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.

His teammate Max Verstappen, meanwhile, prepares for the race by "doing heat training in the sauna and getting ready to sweat". After a tough start, punctuated by two retirements in four races, he is hitting peak form.

Alonso is a two-time victor at Marina Bay, and his morale must surely have been boosted by McLaren's confirmed switch to Renault power.

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