Mercedes: The car is working pretty well

Mercedes report from day one of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, Round 15 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Marina Bay Street Circuit.

  • Lewis sets the pace under the Marina Bay lights
  • Lewis ended the opening session in P3 with Valtteri in P4
  • In the evening, Lewis finished the session on top of the timesheets with Valtteri in P4
  • Both drivers ran the Hard and the Soft tyres in FP1
  • In FP2, both Lewis and Valtteri used the Medium and the Soft compounds

Lewis Hamilton: “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. 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.

Valtteri Bottas: “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. 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.

Andrew Shovlin: “We’ve not always had an easy time at this track but it looks like the car is working pretty well here this year. Lewis has had a very solid day, the pace looked good on low and high fuel and he’s been happy with the car from the first run.

“There is always time to find on a circuit like this as the better the balance, the more the driver can push to the limit but we have a good baseline to work from with him. Valtteri has not had an easy day, he got caught out by a rear snap going into Turn 19 on the second run that finished his first session and caused quite a lot of damage.

“The car was repaired in impressive time, but he wasn’t really comfortable at any stage in the second session so we’ve got a bit of work to do, picking through the data and seeing if we can spot anything that might be causing a problem. We were called to the see the stewards for a fuel temperature breach in the first session. We’d manage to set this to the wrong target temperature but luckily it was only a practice session otherwise we’d have received more than a fine.”