The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS team locked out the front row of the grid once more in 2014, with Lewis Hamilton beating Nico Rosberg to the Singapore Grand Prix pole by just 0.007s.
Hamilton admitted he felt his chance of pole position had disappeared after a small mistake heading into the first corner of his quickest lap, but a stunning fight back saw him snatch top spot by one of the smallest margins ever seen in Formula 1. He admitted his surprised of how close the competition, most noticeably the Red Bull’s and the Ferrari’s were to Mercedes, but is hoping for a strong race and to hopefully close the gap to Rosberg in the championship.
“That was one of the most exciting qualifying sessions I can remember,” reflected Hamilton. “I lost a lot of time at the beginning of my last lap and at that point I thought pole was lost. But I just kept going and managed to pull some time back.
“As a driver, through the weekend you plan to have the last lap in qualifying as your best. I was surprised by how close everyone was – the Red Bulls and Ferraris looked quick all day – and it was really fun to be a part of that session. The team have done a fantastic job to bring the car here, to a circuit where downforce is so important, and be at the front once again, so a big thank you to them.
“It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow. Coming into the weekend we had an opinion about how the tyres would behave, but the long runs yesterday changed all that. Trying to manage them will be a big challenge but hopefully it will be an entertaining one for the fans. I’m on the clean side of the track so I’m hoping for a clean start and a strong race.”
Team-mate Rosberg was disappointed to lose out to Hamilton by the tiniest of margins in what he described as the ‘most difficult qualifying session’ of his career. The German insists he is focused on making a good start on Sunday, and feels there is still a good chance to win from second on the grid.
“In general that was the most difficult qualifying session of my career so far,” said Rosberg. “It was really tough to find my rhythm. I had to change my brakes for qualifying and then had to find the right balance in the early runs, which was a struggle. I just thought, “that’s it, you will be 6th or 7th”. Then, at the end, I was really happy with the balance and feeling good.
“When I heard that Lewis was that tiny margin quicker I thought “damn”! I directly reviewed my lap and thought there were so many places to gain seven thousandths of a second – especially in the last corner. But in the end he did seven thousandths of a better job today, so fair play to him. P2 is still good for tomorrow’s race and I’m focused on having a good start.
“Last year I overtook Sebastian at Turn One, so it’s definitely possible to win from here. It’s going to be all about managing the tyres and I learned some good lessons in my long runs yesterday, so I hope it will be an exciting race for the fans.”