Pascal Wehrlein admitted that he knew the Singapore Grand Prix weekend was going to be tough after finishing nineteenth and twenty-first respectively in the two free practice sessions on Friday.
The Manor Racing driver is making his first appearance at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and revealed that the team are struggling with both their downforce levels and traction out of the corners, meaning he is struggling for lap time this weekend and is unlikely to make it a hat trick of Q2 appearances.
“I find this track very cool; I really enjoy driving here,” said Wehrlein. “As expected, we are not yet quick enough compared to the other teams; this track requires a lot of downforce and good traction, which we’re struggling with.
“There are so many corners here – no long straights – so we knew it was going to be more difficult. So far we have gone through our programme for the weekend, so that’s all good.”
Team-mate Esteban Ocon was the busiest driver in opening practice as he also got acclimatised to the circuit as well as learning more about his MRT05, and felt it was important to learn the track and not lose time by hitting the wall.
The Frenchman finished twenty-first in the first session and twenty-second in the second, but is looking forward to the rest of his weekend.
“I think it was a pretty good day overall,” said Ocon. “The important thing was to stay on track and get to know all the corners.
“On the quali lap I started to explore the limits of the car a little more and I touched the wall, but luckily there was no significant damage to the car. I lost a bit of lap time but that was not a problem for today. On the long runs, we are very happy with the car.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and to racing at night time. The heat makes it harder of course, and it’s a tiring lap here because you never rest – you’re always turning. All of that makes it more challenging and I like that.”