The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team had a productive day around the Marina Bay circuit in Singapore as they got to work preparing their cars for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton topped free practice two after finishing second in free practice one, while Nico Rosberg was third in FP1 but an unrepresentative thirteenth in FP2.
Hamilton finished second to the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso in FP1, before taking charge with a good lap in FP2 to take top spot. He is still unconvinced about his car’s set-up, and admits that he will need to sit down with his mechanics overnight to work out what to do on Saturday ahead of FP3 and qualifying.
“Today was a work in progress,” said Hamilton. “We made some changes between P1 and P2 and, whether it was those changes or the track itself, the balance didn’t feel right. It felt like we lost a bit of performance but we’ll look into the details and see what it was tonight.
“The long run was okay – I had a bit of traffic which wasn’t ideal, as when you back off to rebuild the gap the tyres come back to you a bit which may not give an accurate picture of exactly how long they will last.
“Pole here has always been very important. The right side of the grid, for example, always seems to get the better starts. Being up at the front will be crucial and that’s obviously my target for qualifying tomorrow. Nico looks very quick, as do the Ferraris and the Red Bulls, but I’m feeling good this weekend and I’m focused on the job.”
Team-mate Rosberg’s thirteenth in FP2 was unrepresentative, with a red flag to clear up the crashed Lotus of Pastor Maldonado cutting short his qualifying-style lap, but the German was happy with his Friday efforts, and feels the car is working well around the Marina Bay circuit.
“I had a good feeling in the car,” insisted Rosberg. “The only pity was that I had to abandon my quick lap due to the red flags. Although I didn’t get the second part of that lap, though, in the first part the car felt great. We then decided to do more laps on high fuel to learn more for the race and overall it was okay.
“It will be difficult with tyre degradation on the softer tyre so we still need to work on that. But it’s generally a great challenge driving here. This is one of the most difficult tracks out there but to fight through all the curves and bumps – especially with this amazing Silver Arrow – is a great feeling.”