Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton: “I was pushing so hard and it was incredibly close”

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Credit: Jiri Krenek

For much of Q3 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, Lewis Hamilton was a contender for pole position, but when the chequered flag fell, he found himself only third on the grid.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver had been quick initially in Q3 as drivers used Pirelli’s dry weather tyres for the first time in the session, but his final run saw him struggling for grip, and it cost him as he missed out on pole to Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by just 0.054 seconds.

As close as the times were at the front of the field, Hamilton also found himself behind Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez, meaning his run of failing to secure a front row start in 2022 continues, but he hopes for a more positive Sunday in Singapore.

“I was pushing so hard and it was incredibly close,” said Hamilton.  “It was really difficult to get to a position where we could be fighting for first place and I just didn’t have enough grip on the last lap.

“Coming here, we didn’t know how close we could be this weekend. We knew we’d be stronger than in Monza, but we didn’t know exactly how much. Nonetheless, I am grateful to be on the second row tomorrow.

“And I’m thankful to the team for continuing to push. We just keep our head down and hope for a positive day tomorrow.”

“The grip felt good, I just couldn’t get around any corners” – George Russell

Team-mate George Russell was a surprise casualty in Q2 in Singapore, with the Briton missing out on the top ten by just 0.006 seconds.

Russell, who took his maiden pole position of his Formula 1 career earlier in the year at the Hungaroring, revealed that he struggled with a brake-related issue throughout Qualifying, and it worsened enough in Q2 to force him to lose out to Kevin Magnussen on a place inside Q3.

Despite the disappointment on Saturday, Russell believes he can make progress on Sunday and continue his remarkable run of scoring top five finishes in all bar one race so far in 2022.

“I was struggling with a brake-related issue, pushing me into the corners,” said Russell.  “The grip felt good, I just couldn’t get around any corners.

“I kept understeering off, which is such a shame. I don’t think we’d have been any better in Q3, because of that problem. We’ve seen some indications in the data and I hope we can resolve it until tomorrow.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing for myself and the whole team as the car was looking strong here. Lewis was really fast, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it work.

“It’s still an encouraging weekend for us all in all, but obviously, we’re here to score points and ultimately this is a qualifying track. Fortunately, the degradation is looking high and it could be a two stop race tomorrow.”

George Russell was eliminated in Q2 on Saturday – Credit: LAT Images
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