Hamilton hopes Russell wins, but what is his declared value against Ferrari?
Lewis Hamilton believes George Russell has a great chance of winning the Singapore Grand Prix. His teammate sees Mercedes as having a positional advantage – but is that really the case, or is he just starting to apply pressure on Saturday?
George Russell is in the front row for the first time since Australia. He missed out on pole position by just 8 hundredths of a second during qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix, during which he continued his rise after the summer break. Russell beat Lewis Hamilton, who was again at a disadvantage at home since the holiday, by four tenths of a second, and who this time managed only fifth place – according to him, thanks to a change of setting, with which he wanted to catch up with Ferrari, encouraged From their good level on Friday.
The seven-time world champion has already touted his chances, but believes Russell was given a great opportunity on a weekend in which a hitherto unbeaten Red Bull team collapsed.
“I’m very happy for George. I think you did a good job. He became one with the car all weekend. Things started well for me on Friday, but today was not a good day.” Hamilton said.
“He has a really good chance to win. I really hope he wins, starts well and gets ahead of Ferrari. It would be great for him and the team.”
“For me, I’ll see what I get. If I can get going that would be great. The car was good on Friday in the long stage but we changed it, so I don’t know what will happen on Sunday.” Hamilton said.
He stressed that this is the trend for them this year: they often start well, then want to improve, but the car goes bad and they can no longer get back on track. “I have never driven a car that was so difficult to repair.” Announce.
Doubts about Russell’s “advantage”.
Meanwhile, Russell appeared to be driving a completely different car on Saturday. “I trusted the car and really enjoyed it and the team strategy was perfect.” The runner-up said.
As soon as he got out of the car, the Briton started saying that even though he had just lost to Carlos Sainz, overall he felt Mercedes were in a better position. On the one hand, from the point of view of race speed and tire wear, and on the other hand, also from a tactical point of view, because in the third free practice, unlike the others, they did not use medium compound tires, so they have one set more for the race than their competitors. According to Russell, this gives them the freedom to choose one or two stations depending on the situation.
“It will be very close between the first and second stops. With our medium tire we can put Ferrari in a difficult situation and try to push them into error. That is our goal.”
Ferrari believes that since overtaking is difficult in Singapore, they can keep Mercedes behind even with a slower race pace and worse tire management. In addition, Charles Leclerc starts from third position, meaning the formation is “two against one”, which is a tactical advantage from their point of view.
Interestingly, Mario Isola, Pirelli’s sporting director, does not believe the two stops can bear fruit.
“Honestly, I believe in one position. By changing the wheel, you lose twenty-seven to twenty-eight seconds in the pits, and it is difficult to get it back on track.”
Based on this – and knowing Russell – it is possible that the Briton has already begun to apply pressure by flaunting his tactical advantage and trying to get Ferrari to adopt a defensive tactic with a kind of intimidation…
Wolf: Only modestly!
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is confident they can replace Ferrari and become the first team outside of Red Bull to win a race this year. “I think anything can be in it. Our race pace is fine. If we play well, anything is possible.” said the Austrian.
At the same time, he was quick to add that this will be a competition full of opportunities. “Everyone has a chance to reach fifth place. We must remain humble, and we must not rule out Red Bull either.”
“After this season, I will never call ourselves favorites just because we are in the first row. We have to deal with the situation with humility. The result was surprising but fighting to win will be different.” Wolf warned.