Lewis Hamilton felt he had the pace to win the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, but the current championship leader was resigned to finishing off the podium in fourth after a gamble on extending his first stint failed to pay off.
The Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver was running second in the first stage of the race, running right behind Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, but when the Monegasque racer hit the pit lane, he stayed out hoping to eek out a big enough gap to take over the lead.
However, the undercut was the way to go and Hamilton not only lost out to Leclerc, but he also found himself behind eventual winner Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen after his pit stop. And dispute fresher tyres, he was unable to find a way around Verstappen to return to the podium, meaning he missed out on a top three finish for only the third time in 2019.
“It’s not been the weekend we wanted at all,” admitted Hamilton. “I was all over Charles in the first stint and I think we had the pace to win the race today.
“We discussed the possibility of the undercut in the strategy meeting this morning and I wanted to take the risk but then Ferrari decided to box, so we did the opposite and I stayed out. I pushed hard and the tyres were feeling good, but after a few laps they started to drop off real quick.”
Hamilton felt the best team won on the day, but mistakes were made by Mercedes in Singapore that made it difficult for them to maximise their result. However, he says they all win and lose as a team so there is no finger pointing to be done, just a lot of analysis to ensure these mistakes do not reoccur.
“We made mistakes tonight, but in this team, we win and we lose together,” said Hamilton. “We don’t point the finger at people, that’s always been our philosophy and that won’t change because of one race. We’re fighting a Ferrari team who are super hungry and pushing very hard. It’s on each one of us to do a better job.
“I believe we’re the best team, but we’ve got to push on. We’ll debrief tonight, put our heads back in the scrum, and then come back fighting at the next race.”