Hamilton can't place Ferrari's surprise "big step" in Singapore

Lewis Hamilton does not know where Ferrari's "big step" has come from and has admitted the pace of Mercedes' Formula 1 rival in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying was unexpected

Hamilton can't place Ferrari's surprise "big step" in Singapore

Charles Leclerc claimed his third pole position in a row as Ferrari surprised pre-event favourites Mercedes and Red Bull in qualifying, though Hamilton was able to split the two Ferraris in second.

Ferrari has brought a significant upgrade to this race, including a revised nose, cape and floor, which appears to have provided the aerodynamic gains needed for the team to be more competitive on high-downforce tracks like the Singapore street circuit.

Asked by Autosport how ominous it was for Ferrari to have added more aerodynamic performance to its strong straightline speed, Hamilton said: "I don't know where they have picked up their pace for a street circuit like this.

"Earlier on in the year they were not as close. They've obviously done a great job.

"I don't really know where we're losing it, the first sector is a bit of a loss to us, part of it is a straight line but they are able to match us in the middle and the last sector.

"Overall, clearly a big step for them.

"We'll just keep pushing. We've not had an upgrade for a while so maybe when that comes that will help us a little bit."

Last year, Hamilton won from pole position after defeating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen in qualifying.

This time, his late lap to secure second place bumped Verstappen to fourth, behind the second Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton said that Mercedes knew Red Bull would be competitive again in Singapore but admitted Ferrari had produced a surprise given its previous form at high-downforce venues has "not been so strong".

"All of a sudden they've brought an upgrade here and it seems to have worked," he said.

"Of course we were not expecting to have such a strong performance from them and have such a deficit to them, but they've done a great job.

"I was grateful I was able to split them, only just. We were lacking pace today.

"It was definitely a struggle to be up there, but I like how close it was between us all. "Hopefully that puts us in a good stead for good fights."

Poleman Leclerc hailed the work Ferrari has done with its upgraded after expressing his own surprise at the pace he had.

Leclerc had trailed Mercedes' and Red Bull's lead cars significantly on Friday practice, while Vettel had also been quite a way off.

"[I am] very surprised because even though we knew there was a bit more to come yesterday we did not expect to challenge neither Mercedes or Red Bull," said Leclerc.

"It's quite a big surprise for the whole team, but it just proves how good of a job they've done back at the factory and today it's also thanks to them we're on pole."

shares
comments
Norris: "Brain fade" resulted in "awful" Singapore F1 Q3 lap

Previous article

Norris: "Brain fade" resulted in "awful" Singapore F1 Q3 lap

Next article

Ricciardo at risk of Singapore F1 qualifying DQ over MGU-K spike

Ricciardo at risk of Singapore F1 qualifying DQ over MGU-K spike
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021