F1: Hamilton slams Singapore Grand Prix circuit ahead of qualifying

LEWIS Hamilton has criticised Singapore’s new track layout ahead of Sunday’s 2010 grand prix, describing it as ‘worse’ than last year.

The 25-year-old Formula 1 driver from Herts is unhappy at modifications made to the Marina Bay street circuit’s for this year’s night race, qualifying for which takes place this afternoon.

First practice on Friday was hit by rain, making track conditions difficult, and Hamilton feels revisions to the chicane, where the kerbs have been altered, are potentially dangerous.

“The track was very tricky today [Friday] because there were wet patches in some areas,” said McLaren Mercedes star Hamilton.

“I think the changes made to the track have made it worse – and the chicane is now very tricky.

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“You approach it at 170mph – and if something goes wrong, and you hit one of those kerbs, then you could have a nasty accident.”

Defending F1 world champion Jenson Button also feels the cocktail of racing on a damp track under floodlights makes the Singapore circuit treacherous in the wet.

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Speaking after Friday’s practice sessions, Button said: “We saw today that, after it rains, the track doesn’t dry very quickly, and a lot of water comes up through the circuit.

“It’s pretty tricky – it’s difficult to see which parts of the track are wet because of the glare. Hopefully, we won’t have any more rain this weekend, because wet conditions aren’t the nicest to drive in.”

McLaren Mercedes team chief Martin Whitmarsh also hopes the track stays dry after watching yesterday’s damp opening practice session.

Speaking on Friday, Whitmarsh said: “This afternoon’s shower showed, for the first time, that this circuit is likely to be very challenging in the wet.

”The track doesn’t dry out very rapidly and, as we saw this evening, certain parts of the track don’t drain very efficiently.

“That meant some corners were still damp long after the rest of the track had dried. Coupled with the fact that visibility under the strip lighting makes it hard for the drivers to see where the circuit is drying, a race in wet conditions could be extremely challenging.”

Qualifying for the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix takes place today (Saturday) at 3pm, with the race starting at 1pm British time on Sunday.

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