F1 2011 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying: Grid position vital for Hamilton
PUBLISHED: 11:58 24 September 2011 | UPDATED: 10:12 25 September 2011
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position around the Marina Bay street circuit today (Saturday) in 2011 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying.
"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."
Qualifying around the floodlit Singapore track starts at 3pm BST and Hamilton is looking for a strong grid position.
Herts-born Hamilton was quickest in Friday’s first practice session but the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes racer was beaten by Red Bull’s reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in P2.
German Vettel, who can retain the drivers’ title in Singapore this weekend, will start qualifying as favourite, but Hamilton is also looking for a front row spot.
Speaking after practice, Hamilton said: “Qualifying will be very important tomorrow [Saturday], because a good starting position for the race will be vital.
“Then, looking after the tyres will be key; we’ll be making adjustments to limit the rears’ sliding, and also to make them last longer.”
Tyre wear around the Asian street circuit will be a problem in the race, as Hamilton’s McLaren colleague Jenson Button acknowledged.
Button said: “I think everybody will struggle a little with tyres during the race – they seem to be overheating quite quickly.
“So it’s going to be a bit tough, but we’re all in the same boat.”
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
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh 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.”
The 2011 Singapore Grand Prix starts at 1pm on Sunday.
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