F1 2011 Singapore Grand Prix: Hamilton battles for podium finish
PUBLISHED: 12:04 25 September 2011 | UPDATED: 12:54 25 September 2011
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton feels he still has pace in reserve entering the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix.
2011 Singapore Grand Prix grid positions
1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3 Jenson Button (McLaren)
4 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
The Herts-born F1 star battles for a podium finish around the floodlit Marina Bay street circuit in the sport’s night race from 1pm BST today (Sunday).
Hamilton, 26, will start the grand prix from the second row after qualifying fourth behind Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team-mate Jenson Button.
World champion-elect Sebastian Vettel will go from pole position, with Red Bull colleague Mark Webber completing the front row of the Singapore grid.
The Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa fill the third row spots.
Due to the tight nature of the street circuit and the short run to the first corner, night rider Hamilton is prepared to patiently wait for his opportunity – especially with the race lasting 61 laps of the 5.1km track and tyre-wear being a known issue after Friday’s practice.
Speaking after Saturday’s eventful qualifying session, Hamilton said: “All in all, fourth place isn’t too bad – and, as I say, the most encouraging thing is that we’ve still got more pace up our sleeve.
“There’s only a short run down to Turn One tomorrow [Sunday], which means it’ll be hard to overtake in the initial run down to the first braking point, so I think the race is going to be less about the start and more about looking after the tyres.”
McLaren colleague Button, on the other hand, is looking to challenge the Red Bulls in the opening seconds of the race.
“It’s only a short run down to Turn One, but I’d still like to be at least second into the first corner, so as to be able to challenge Seb [Vettel] from early on,” said the British driver.
“Lining up third also means I’ll be starting from the clean side of the grid.
“Tomorrow [Sunday] will be all about looking after the rear tyres: it’s a long race – the longest of the season – so it’s going to be hard and hot.
“A lot could happen tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Martin Whitmarsh, the team principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, expects both his drivers to be jockeying for podium places.
After qualifying he said: “We’re very confident that both our drivers will be able to mount robust and combative challenges in tomorrow evening’s race, and as always the Singaporean Grand Prix promises to provide enough floodlit drama to have Formula 1 fans glued to their TV screens all over the world.”
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