F1 2011 Singapore Grand Prix: Hamilton’s enthusiasm curbed
PUBLISHED: 21:42 23 September 2011 | UPDATED: 20:27 24 September 2011
FORMULA 1 racer Lewis Hamilton goes in 2011 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.
"We were competitive in P1, but in P2 there was a larger gap to the front and we started struggling a little with the rear tyres."
The 26-year-old from Hertfordshire was quickest in first practice around the Marina Bay street circuit today (Friday) with a lap of 1m 48.599s.
However, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ace was 0.741s slower that pacesetter Sebastian Vettel in P2 after clocking 1m 47.115s for third place on the timesheets.
Hamilton said: “We were competitive in P1, but in P2 there was a larger gap to the front and we started struggling a little with the rear tyres.”
First practice was cut short in time in the Asian city due to problems with the temporary street circuit.
“There are some areas out on the track where the bolts are coming out of the kerbs – they must be taking some serious force from the cars,” said Stevenage-born Hamilton.
“On a couple of the corners – Turns Three, 13 and 14 – the exit and apex kerbing has been removed, so some drivers were using the extra track.
“We don’t yet know whether or not the kerbs will be reinstated tonight, so I continued driving as though the kerbs were there.
“If they’re not replaced, then we should gain an extra couple of tenths by being able to run as wide as some of the others did.
Previous Singapore Grand Prix winners
2008: Fernando Alonso (Renault)
2009: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2010: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
“Either way, we’re going to improve the car overnight; we’ll change the set-up a little bit.”
Hamilton’s team boss Martin Whitmarsh said: “Today was a tricky day for both Lewis and Jenson [Button].
“Lewis showed impressive pace in P1, but wasn’t completely happy with his car’s set-up in the second session.”
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal added: “We’re looking closely at rear tyre degradation, and I’m confident that we have a number of solutions to try and improve the issue.”
Singapore GP Marina Bay Street Circuit
Top speed: 295km/h
Average Speed: 190km/h
Circuit length: 5.1km
Pit straight length: 400m
Race length: 61laps / 309km
Number of corners: 23
Gear changes per lap: 40
Hamilton’s McLaren colleague Button was fifth fastest in first practice but P2 ended prematurely for the 2009 F1 world champion.
Button said: “During P2, I locked up into Turn 14, but I just kept it out of the barriers.
“I selected reverse and started to pull back slowly, but then I had no drive.
“I tried to turn the car around, but there was no room. So I tried to reverse again, and something wasn’t working with the gearbox.
“We looked at the ’box once we got the car back to the garage, and it’s now happily resolved.”
Qualifying for the 2011 Singapore Grand Prix starts at 3pm on Saturday.
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