Lewis Hamilton is confident that Mercedes are not “massively off” the pace after a promising Friday Practice for 2022 Singapore Grand Prix.
Hamilton topped FP1 with a late flying lap ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen but finished fifth following a scrappy Qualifying simulation in FP2, as Mercedes enjoyed relatively untroubled day of running.
Porpoising however remains a hurdle that Hamilton is continuing to manage amidst improved pace, as he commented: “The car is what it is and we’re bouncing around a lot, but it doesn’t feel like we’re massively off this weekend.”
Hamilton also admitted that there isn’t much to be done by the car’s “stiffness” but believes that further lap time can be found within the set-up, which caused “a lot of locking,” across both Practice sessions but can be fixed overnight ahead of FP3.
Singapore though provides a humidity drivers for all drivers within the cars with Hamilton describing the humid weather as “tricky,” which left him “dehydrated after the sessions, a bit heavy and very hot.”
George Russell meanwhile finished fifth in FP1 then third in FP2 with the Brit describing his pace as “promising”, despite suffering with lock-ups across both sessions – especially at Turn 11 which has led him to admit that he has “a lot of work to do” on his car overnight.
The 24 year-old however acknowledged that the “very bumpy” nature of the track surface is affecting everyone, with several drivers experiencing a wide moment or unintentionally getting too close to the barriers.
On the new track surface since F1 last visited in 2019, Russell noted that the grip levels had “surprised” him despite tyres proving “sensitive”, as he predicts “a big improvement throughout FP3 and Qualifying sessions.
Russell though is feeling “optimistic” about his Qualifying prospects if he can “absolutely nail” his laps and extract maximum time possible.
As for how he is handling the humidity of Singapore, Russell echoed Hamilton’s thoughts on the humidity but added that he felt “a bit light-headed jumping out of the car.”