Mixed day for Mercedes as Hamilton quickest and Bottas crashes out

by Craig Edwards
Mercedes AMG Motorsport

It was a mixed day for Mercedes AMG Motorsport at the Singapore Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton topped Free Practice 2 while Valtteri Bottas found the wall in Free Practice 1.

Mercedes arrived in Singapore as one of the favourites this weekend following results at circuits like Hungary and Monaco that have similar characteristics to the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

They topped the timing sheets for a large part of the first session before eventually finishing third and fourth fastest before Hamilton was quickest as night fell in Singapore.

Singapore is known as a very bumpy track and Hamilton admitted it always takes some getting used to.

“It’s always a shock to the system when you first get in the car here in Singapore because it’s very bumpy, it’s a long lap and it’s so hot out there – it’s like a sauna in the car.

“But it’s been a solid first day, we got through our run plan and continued to improve the car, so I’m really happy with it.

“I felt much better in the car today than I have for a while, so I hope I can keep that feeling over the weekend.

“They re-did a few bits of tarmac on the circuit and I managed to get the tyres working well.”

Hamilton pipped Max Verstappen to the quickest time in second practice but admits it will be a challenge to beat him in qualifying tomorrow.

“If you can get into a groove and into a rhythm here, it’s such a beautiful lap, so I’ve really been enjoying it.

“But nothing’s ever perfect and we definitely have some areas that we can still improve on.

“We’ve got off to a good start, but the Red Bulls looked very quick and we still have to put it all together tomorrow, which is not going to be easy.”

Hamilton’s team-mate Bottas had a tougher day as he found the wall at turn 19 after the rear of the car snapped on him and he admitted it was an “off-moment”.

It’s been a tricky day.

“I had a bit of an off moment at the end of FP1, which ended my running a little early.

“I lost the back end in Turn 19 and at this track with no run-off you pay the price.”

Bottas was again fourth fastest as day turned into night in Singapore but the Finn said he was struggling for a pace throughout the session.

“In the late session, I was lacking pace on every run and on both compounds, so I’m not quite sure everything was right with the car.

“It just felt like I couldn’t go any quicker, so we’ll need to have a look at that.

“I felt friction in the steering system, so I struggled to feel the car properly.

“I think it’s going to be close between three teams tomorrow, so we’ll have to push, especially in Q3.”

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